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What to Know About Hurricane Irma

The Latest on Irma: "Catastrophic" Cat. 4 Hurricane Makes Landfall, Batters Florida

Updated on Sept. 10, 2017, at 12:15 p.m. ET:

Hurricane Irma made landfall at 9:10 a.m. in the lower Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm. Bringing sustained winds of 130 miles per hour and a storm surge as high as 15 feet, Irma is being compared to the worst hurricane ever to hit the Florida Keys: Donna, which made landfall exactly 57 years ago today. Here's the latest:

  • Current sustained winds are tracking at around 130 miles per hour, with a strong storm surge and very heavy rain (up to 20 inches is possible in some locations).
  • At least 24 people have lost their lives so far in connection with Hurricane Irma. Officers with the Miami-Dade County Police Department are currently sheltered in place and are no longer taking 911 calls.
  • Curfews are in place across Central Florida and should be observed under all circumstances. These start between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and last well into tomorrow, though officials recommend staying in your home regardless. Tampa will have a 6 p.m. curfew, Broward County and Fort Lauderdale will have a 4 p.m. curfew, and the City of Miami has a 7 p.m. curfew. Please check with your local government for exact timing, starting this morning.
  • Tornado watches continue to be in effect across the state.
  • Storm surge is a massive concern with this storm, with Governor Rick Scott even going so far as to warn Floridians: "You can't survive these storm surges." Warnings are in effect for the Florida Keys; Tampa Bay; from North Miami Beach, southward around the peninsula, to the Ochlockonee River; and from South Santee River southward to Jupiter Inlet. According to the National Hurricane Center, the current storm surge rates could be as high as follows:
    -Cape Sable to Captiva: 10 to 15 feet
    -Captiva to Anna Maria Island: 6 to 10 feet
    -Card Sound Bridge through Cape Sable, including the Florida Keys: 5 to 10 feet
    -Anna Maria Island to Clearwater Beach, including Tampa Bay: 5 to 8 feet
    -North Miami Beach to Card Sound Bridge, including Biscayne Bay: 3 to 5 feet
    -South Santee River to Fernandina Beach: 4 to 6 feet
    -Clearwater Beach to Ochlockonee River: 4 to 6 feet
    -Fernandina Beach to Jupiter Inlet: 2 to 4 feet
    -North of North Miami Beach to Jupiter Inlet: 1 to 2 feet
  • Hurricane warnings are in effect in Florida in the following locations: the Florida Keys; Lake Okeechobee; Florida Bay; and from Fernandina Beach, southward along the peninsula, to Indian Pass. The area north of Fernandina Beach through to Edisto Beach is under a hurricane watch. Tropical storm warnings are in effect from west of Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County line and north of Fernandina Beach to the South Santee River.

Updated on Sept. 9, 2017:

Irma continues to barrel toward the United States, and while it has now been downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane after making landfall in Cuba last night as a Category 5, it's expected to once again swing upward to a Category 4, making it one of the most powerful hurricanes to slam South Florida in a very, very long time. Here's the latest:

  • Irma is expected to make landfall in Florida on Sunday. It's currently clocking in with 125 mph winds — though they're expected to rise over the next 24 hours — and parts of Florida could see as much as 20 inches of rain.
  • Right now, tropical storm conditions should be expected in Florida through the early evening, transitioning into hurricane conditions through Sunday morning and in advance of landfall. Irma will then linger over Florida through Monday before moving up into Georgia and the Carolinas.
  • Parts of Florida are currently under tornado warnings and watches through midnight tonight.
  • Hurricane warnings are in effect for the Florida peninsula from Fernandina Beach to the Aucilla River, the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee, Florida Bay, parts of Cuba, Andors Island, Bimini, and Grand Bahama. Hurricane watches are in effect in Florida from north of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach, West of the Aucilla River to Indian Pass, and for parts of Cuba.
  • Tropical storm warnings are in effect for parts of Cuba, and watches are in effect in Florida from north of Edisto Beach to the South Santee River and West of Indian pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County line.
  • Storm surge warnings are in effect in Florida south of the Volusia/Brevard County line to the Suwanee River, the Florida Keys, and Tampa Bay. Watches are in effect for north of the Volusia/Brevard County line up into South Carolina and north of the Suwanee River to the Ochlockonee River.

Updated on Sept. 8, 2017:

Despite being downgraded to Category 4, Irma is set to be the strongest hurricane to hit Florida in more than 13 years and will make landfall in South Florida this weekend. Governor Rick Scott is warning Floridians that Irma is "way bigger than Andrew" — one of the most devastating hurricanes in Florida's history — and here's what else we can confirm as of Friday afternoon:

  • Irma's winds are currently reaching 155 miles per hour and the storm could drop up to 20 inches of rain in Florida after impact. Storm surges are also of extreme concern right now as they could be as high as 12 feet during high tide, making it even more crucial that those who have been evacuated comply with official orders.
  • The current track puts Irma in the Bahamas through the weekend, in Cuba through Saturday, in Florida on Saturday and Sunday, and in Georgia and the Carolinas by early next week.
  • At least 20 people have died and multiple small islands in the Caribbean have been destroyed as of Friday afternoon.
  • Hurricane warnings are in effect in Florida from the Jupiter Inlet southward around the peninsula to Bonita Beach, the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee, Florida Bay, and parts of the Bahamas and Cuba. Hurricane watches are in effect for Florida north of Jupiter Inlet to the Flagler/Volusia County line, north of Bonita Beach to the Anclote River, and in parts of Cuba. Storm surge warnings have been put in effect in Florida from Sebastian Inlet southward around the peninsula to Venice and the Florida Keys, with a watch in place for north of the Sebastian Inlet up to the Ponce Inlet.
  • Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for parts of Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, Brevard County, Jacksonville County, Duval County, and Monroe County in Florida.

Updated on Sept. 7, 2017:

At least 10 people have died and the tiny island of Barbuda has been demolished since Irma made landfall, and the Category 5 hurricane has yet to show a single sign that it is slowing down. Here's what we can confirm at this stage:

  • Current predictions put Irma over Haiti through Thursday evening, in the Turks and Caicos late Thursday night into Friday, the Bahamas and Cuba on Friday through the weekend, and in South Florida on Saturday through early next week. The storm is currently looking likely to hit much of the Southeastern seaboard, leaving Georgia and the Carolinas on high alert.

  • Irma's maximum sustained winds remain at 180 miles per hour, and over a foot or more of rain is expected in the locations the hurricane will pass over through the end of the week. Storm surge is also a concern, with levels of five to 20 feet high, which have triggered additional storm surge watches for the tip of the Florida peninsula.

  • A hurricane watch is now in effect in Florida in the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee, and Florida Bay and from the Jupiter Inlet around the peninsula to Bonita Beach. Parts of Cuba are under hurricane watch as well. Hurricane warnings are in effect for the Southeastern Bahamas, Central Bahamas, Northwestern Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for parts of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba.
  • Parts of Florida have already received mandatory evacuation orders — a full list of locations is available here, and more evacuations are expected over the next 24-48 hours.
  • A state of emergency has been preemptively declared in South Carolina and Georgia ahead of the storm's US landfall.

Updated on Sept. 6, 2017:

Hurricane Irma made landfall on the island of Barbuda during the early hours of Sept. 6. Here's what we can confirm at this stage:

  • As it stands, the current timing puts Irma over Puerto Rico on Wednesday, the Dominican Republic on Thursday, the Bahamas on Friday, and Florida and the Southeastern United States over the weekend and into next week — though that's all subject to change on a daily basis, and we'll continue to update this page with the latest information.

  • Irma is only the fifth hurricane in recorded history to have winds of 185 miles per hour or greater. Still a Category 5 storm, Irma is producing winds as high as 185 miles per hour in addition to drenching rains and heavy surf.

  • Hurricane warnings are in effect for Anguilla, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Southeastern Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Vieques, Culebra, Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy, Saba, St. Eustatius, and Sint Maarten. Hurricane watches are in effect for parts of Cuba and the Central Bahamas. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Updated on Sept. 5, 2017:

Less than 24 hours after being designated a Category 4 hurricane, Monday morning Irma was once again upgraded to a Category 5. Here's the latest:

  • Irma is currently located 270 miles east of Antigua, and winds are being measured at a staggering 175 miles per hour. The Caribbean is preparing for incredibly high storm surges and lashing rain.

  • Again, it's still too early to predict where Irma will head next, but Florida is preparing for worst-case scenario and has been given full assurance by President Donald Trump that aid will be made readily available.

  • Both Puerto Rico and Florida have declared a State of Emergency in advance of the storm making landfall.
  • Hurricane warnings are in effect for Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Saint Martin, Vieques, Culebra, Saint Barthelmy, Sint Maarten, St. Eustatius, Saba, Nevis, St. Kitts, and Montserrat. Tropical storm warnings are in effect for Guadeloupe and Dominica.
  • Hurricane watches are in effect for Guadeloupe and the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the Haiti border. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Dominican Republic from south of Cabo Engano to Isla Saona.

Updated on Sept. 4, 2017:

As the residents of Texas deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma continues to barrel toward American shores. Currently clocking in as a Category 4 storm, the final trajectory has yet to be wholly mapped out, but it is becoming increasingly likely that Irma will make landfall on the Southern Coast, and the storm will almost certainly have an impact on the Florida coast. Here, however, is what we can confirm at this stage:

  • Hurricane Irma is a Category 4 storm, which means that it's classified by experts as a "major" hurricane. The current sustained winds are at around 130 miles per hour, and the storm is moving in a west-southwest direction at 14 miles per hour. Here's what the wind forecast is looking like right now:

  • It is unlikely that the storm will affect the US until the end of this week at the very earliest. According to The Weather Channel, at that point "Irma will turn north and likely impact a portion of the U.S. coastline. It's too soon to know exactly what impacts to expect in the U.S. and where they will occur, but the chances of Irma impacting Florida are increasing." Here's how NOAA is tracking the storm through Saturday, Sept. 9:

  • Governor Rick Scott has declared a preemptive State of Emergency for Florida ahead of the storm making landfall. Puerto Rico has declared a State of Emergency as well.
  • Hurricane warnings are in effect for the following locations: Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, Saint Maarten, Saint Martin, and Saint Barthelemy.
  • Hurricane watches are in effect for the following locations: Guadeloupe, the British Virgin Islands, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Dominica.

Original story from Aug. 31, 2017:

Less than a week after Hurricane Harvey — and before the devastating storm has even fully cleared out of the continental United States — another massive tropical storm brewing in the Atlantic, Irma, has been upgraded to a hurricane. And Hurricane Irma might be headed our way. While meteorologists are predicting that the storm is at the very least a week away from landfall, hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski told Accuweather that "Irma is likely to become a major hurricane and could become a Category 4 well before it reaches the Lesser Anteilles." We'll continue to monitor developments as and when they happen and update this story, but here's what we know right now:

  • Hurricane Irma is currently a Category 3 storm, with winds reaching 115 mph. It's moving slowly, though, in the north-northwest direction at around 12 miles per hour. Here's what the wind speeds look like as of now:

  • It's hard to say where the storm will head at this stage — models typically can't predict a storm's full trajectory when it's more than a week away — so experts will be able to speak to the expected landfall at some point over the holiday weekend. Research states that storms which form close to the equator — specifically at the Intertropical Convergence Zone, or ITCZ — are likely to develop a higher amount of strength and velocity, so we'll definitely be keeping an eye on the area. NOAA is currently tracking the direction of the hurricane as follows:

This is a developing story and will be updated as new information becomes available.

Image Source: NOAA
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