Cuba is about to get hit by formidable Category 5 monster, Hurricane Irma from National Hurricane Center (NHC). It has 160 mph 256 km/h 139 knot winds and central pressure of 924 millibars. Irma is getting close to making landfall on Camagüey Archipelago, Cuba. The last time a Category 5 hurricane made landfall on Cuba was 1924 Cuba Hurricane, which made landfall on Western Cuba. It is going to be a very long and frightening night. Many people in Irma’s path will experience strong winds of 80 to 120 mph 128 to 192 km/h 70 to 104 knots with gust as high as 120 to 180 mph 192 to 288 km/h 104 to 156 knots. They can see heavy rain with amounts of 10 to 15 inches/25.4 to 38.1 centimeters with totals as high as 30 inches/76.2 centimeters. Storm surge could go as high as 10 feet/3.04 meters! This is not a storm to mess with. Parts of Cuba are experiencing hurricane force winds.
Irma is a large hurricane with hurricane force winds that is 138 miles 221 km 120 nautical miles across northeast to northwest quadrant and northeast to southeast quadrant. Tropical storm force winds that are 357 miles 571 km 310 nautical miles across northeast to northwest quadrant. Hurricane force winds could last up to 10 hours in Cuba. There is going to be a lot of damage by tomorrow. Let’s look at intensity forecast.
Most forecast models keep Irma as a Category 5 hurricane for the next 36 hours. Some weaken it within 24 hours. I think Irma will be a Category 5 prior to affecting Florida. Where does Irma go after Cuba is a frightening prospect. Here is the latest heat map from various forecast models and GFS ensemble track guidance for Irma. The GFS goes up to 10 days.
The models are trending westward, which means Irma could go west of Miami area. That is actually worse because it puts the dirty side of Irma over Miami area. They get strong winds, heavy rain, storm surge, and high waves. It looks to be traversing over Florida. That is a very horrifying prospect as it could ravage a large portion of the state. This includes Naples, Orlando, Tampa, and St. Petersburg. As Irma gets closer to Florida, it is looking to get larger.
The NHC forecasts Irma gets larger, which makes it more dangerous regardless of Category 4 or 5. Larger hurricanes produce higher storm surges and waves on top of prolonged heavy rain. Here is a rainfall forecast model ending at September 11, 2017 at 10:00 PM. They are from GFS, Canadian, EURO, and Weather Prediction Center (WPC).
All the forecast models are in agreement that Florida will get heavy rain from Hurricane Irma. However, the forecast models vary in location. The GFS and WPC are in the middle of Florida, while EURO has it more rain to the west. The Canadian has it more to the east. Most agree that Florida could see 8 to 12 inches/20.3 to 30.5 centimeters of rain. Some areas could see as much as 20 inches/50.8 centimeters of rain. The widespread heavy rain can lead to flooding in Florida, which is very serious, especially in light of Harvey over Texas.
There are two hurricanes, Jose and Katia. Let’s start with Jose. Jose is now a strong Category 4 hurricane with 155 mph 248 km/h 135 knots. I would not be surprised if Jose does get upgraded to Category 5. There are Hurricane Warnings for hurricane ravaged Barbuda and Anguilla, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy. The forecast model is from various forecast models and GFS ensemble track guidance for Irma. The GFS goes up to 10 days. It looks that Jose may affect those ravaged islands. Let’s hope Jose stays very faraway from them. They do not need a second hurricane to hit them.
One difference between Jose and Irma is that Jose is not as large as Irma.
It more the size of Hurricane Harvey prior to landfall on Texas. The size certainly helped Jose undergo rapid intensification. Let’s take a look at the intensity forecast.
The intensity forecast model for Jose is to weaken. One forecast model has Jose becoming a Category 5 hurricane in 72 hours. I would not be surprised if Jose becomes a Category 5 hurricane or is one, but was not measured.
Another hurricane just made landfall north of Tecolutla, Veracruz, Mexico, Hurricane Katia. It was the area of thunderstorms that was watched after Harvey flooded out Texas. It made landfall earlier tonight. Currently Katia has 75 mph 120 km/h 65 knots wind. It is a small hurricane.
Hurricane force winds in Katia from northeast to southeast quadrant is 29 miles across, while tropical storm force winds from northeast to southeast quadrant is 120 miles across. Most forecast models have Katia going over Mexico, which becomes more of a heavy rain and flood event. Some areas could see up to 30 inches/76.2 centimeters of rain, especially in the mountains.
Here is what I think will happen.
-Irma could affect Florida this weekend.
-Jose could affect Irma ravaged Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Sint Maarten, and St. Martin.
The forecast models came from NCAR-Tropical Cyclone Guidance, National Hurricane Center, Weather.US, Weather Prediction Center (WPC), and National Weather Service. Special thanks to all of them.
This could a very bad event for Florida. This is the most frightening hurricane since Katrina was approaching Louisiana and Mississippi, Ike approaching Texas, or Harvey approaching Texas. I am very concerned for Florida. They better be super prepared.