As of this update (4p Thursday), Irma remains a powerful Category 5 hurricane with 175 MPH winds, moving WNW at 16 MPH. Some fluctuations in strength are likely over the next couple of days, but Irma will remain a category 4-5 hurricane over the next couple of days.
Interests along the Florida peninsula (impacts beginning late Friday night-Saturday) all the way up the coast to include GA (beginning late Saturday-Sunday) and the Carolinas (beginning Sunday evening-Monday morning) should remain abreast of the latest developments with Irma. It should also be noted that this won’t just be a coastal problem. In fact, areas well inland, including the southern Appalachians, can expect significant impacts from Irma as she races north early next week. It’s a particularly concerning scenario when you combine the expected inland track of Irma with the orientation of the NC mountains. Flooding and damaging winds are a good bet given current data taking Irma over the high country (keep in mind Irma’s remnants are likely to track over mountains exceeding 6k feet). The topography will not only result in enhanced rainfall from orographic lift, but result in tropical storm and low-end hurricane force wind gusts.
We’ve also had several questions with respect to Irma potentially impacting central Indiana. As of now, we still forecast an increasingly gusty easterly wind Monday afternoon and evening followed by increasing clouds and showers lifting from southeast to northwest Monday night. Breezy conditions and showers remain in the forecast Tuesday, especially for the southern half of the state as Irma’s remnants track into the TN and lower Ohio Valley region. While this is still a fluid situation, as of now we don’t anticipate big problems with either wind or rain across central Indiana. Stay tuned.