Extremely dangerous Hurricaned Irma crashed into the Florida Keys on Sunday morning, unleashing violent wind gusts and storm-surge flooding. Florida’s western coast is now facing Irma’s wrath, and forecasters fear this storm will go down as one of the worst in the state’s history.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, Irma was centered 20 miles south of Naples and its northern eyewall, the zone of most violent winds, was raking Marco Island – where there was an unofficial wind gust reported to 130 mph. The storm, packing peak winds of 120 mph, was moving to the north at 12 mph.

The storm’s peak winds had dropped 10 mph from the morning, making it a Category 3 hurricane, down from a 4, but it remained very serious and life-threatening. The storm was predicted to move up the west coast of Florida into Sunday night.

Winds in excess of 100 mph were expected to batter numerous population centers along the western coast, including Naples and Fort Myers and up the coast to Tampa. And coastal waters could rise 10 to 15 feet above normally dry land, inundating homes, businesses and roads, an “imminent danger,” according to the National Hurricane Center.
“The Keys through Tampa will likely experience the worst storm surge event that area has seen in generations,” said Bill Read, a former Hurricane Center director.

[Everything you need to know about Irma]

When Irma crashed into the Keys early Sunday as a Category 4, following Hurricane Harvey’s assault in Texas, it marked the first time on record that two Category 4 storms had made landfall in the United States in the same year.

Because of the storm’s magnitude, the entire state of Florida is being severely affected by damaging winds and torrential rains. Tropical storm and hurricane conditions were also predicted to spread into the Florida Panhandle, eastern Alabama, much of Georgia, and southern South Carolina by Monday.

The latest

(National Hurricane Center)
An extreme wind warning was issued for Marco Island and Naples through 5:30 p.m. due to the likelihood of destructive winds up to 120 mph. Even before the core of Irma had arrived in Naples, winds had already gusted up to 84 mph and Fort Myers reported a gust to 79 mph.

The Weather Service also issued a flash flood emergency for this same area through 6 p.m. due to the expected sudden onset of storm surge flooding.

Prior to the arrival of the storm center, water was actually retreating from Naples to Tampa due to offshore winds from the east pulling the sea back. But forecasters warned residents that about two to three hours after the storm’s center passed to the north and winds blew back onshore, waters would rush back in rapidly causing severe inundation.

[Hurricane Irma is literally sucking the water away from shorelines]

In Southeast Florida, spiral bands continued to unleash tropical-storm-force winds. Sustained winds in Miami and Fort Lauderdale reached 50-60 mph through early afternoon, gusting as high as 80 to 100 mph.

Miami International Airport clocked a gust to 94 mph and an isolated gust hit 100 mph at the University of Miami. Over 2 million customers were without power, mostly in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

At the same time, the seas had risen several feet above normally dry land. Social media photos and videos showed water pouring through Miami’s streets, in between high-rises, amidst sideways sheets of rains.

As the storm’s spiral bands walloped South and Central Florida, the potential for tornadoes arose in the swirling air, and the Weather Service issued watches and warnings. Witnesses captured photographs of a twister moving off the ocean toward Fort Lauderdale on Saturday evening.
A storm-surge warning was also issued for much of the Florida Peninsula (except for a small section from North Miami Beach to Jupiter Inlet), and even extended up the Georgia coast into southern South Carolina. The Hurricane Center said that this would bring the risk of “dangerous” and “life-threatening” inundation and that the threat was highest along Florida’s southwest coast and in the Florida Keys, where it said the surge is expected to be “catastrophic.”

A storm-surge warning was also issued for much of the Florida Peninsula (except for a small section from North Miami Beach to Jupiter Inlet), and even extended up the Georgia coast into southern South Carolina. The Hurricane Center said that this would bring the risk of “dangerous” and “life-threatening” inundation and that the threat was highest along Florida’s southwest coast and in the Florida Keys, where it said the surge is expected to be “catastrophic.”

“In SOUTHWEST FLORIDA — the NAPLES-FT. MYERS-CAPE CORAL area, the potential exists for the worst hurricane in history,” Norcross said.

Because of the shift in the most likely storm track to the west, Miami and Southeast Florida were most likely to miss the storm’s intensely destructive core, known as the eyewall, where winds are strongest. Even so, because of Irma’s enormous size, the entire Florida Peninsula and even the Panhandle were likely to witness damaging winds. The National Hurricane Center warned that the storm would bring “life-threatening wind impacts to much of the state.”

StevieRay Hansen The Shepherd...
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without written permission . ©2017 HNewsWire.com ,TwentyX Holding LLC. All rights reserved.

Stevie-Ray-7

Comments