The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has Hurricane Irma is near Tampa and it is a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph 160 km/h 87 knot winds, which is on land 85 mph 136 km/h 74 knots. Gusts are as high as 128 mph 205 km/h 111 knots. Hurricane force winds are up to 150 miles 240 km 130 nautical miles across from northeast to southeast quadrant. Tropical force winds are up to 690 miles 1,104 km 600 nautical miles across from northwest to northeast quadrant. It is a large hurricane!
Tropical storm force winds are engulfing a large portion of Florida. It is even felt in Georgia and South Carolina! That is how large Irma is. Irma got large because it is over land, which disrupts the core. There is also a cold front. Those two make Irma larger as energy is spread out. The same reason why Ike got larger before making landfall on Texas in 2008.
Irma continues to get closer to Tampa. Here is the forecast model of where Irma will go. This is the latest heat map from various forecast models and GFS ensemble track guidance for Irma. The GFS goes up to 10 days.
Interesting to note there is not much of a consensus of where Irma will go. Interestingly, there appears to be some cluster where Irma will go in the next five days. Looks like Irma may end up over Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, and Illinois.
Here is what I think will happen.
-Tampa Bay Area will be ravaged by Irma.
-Storm surge and strong winds will be the main issue.
-Flooding from storm surge and heavy rain will be widespread.
The forecast models came from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance and National Hurricane Center, . Special thanks to all of them.