Computer models shift Hurricane Irma east, still a Cat. 5 storm

Hurricane Irma update 5am

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  The southern half of Florida is now in the "cone of concern" for Hurricane Irma.  The storm is now a powerful Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 185 miles per hour.

As of 8 a.m. the newest track shows the storm trekking westward putting more pressure on South Florida and the Carolinas. 

The Dominican Republic has issued a Hurricane Warning for its northern coast, according to the National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. advisory. A Hurricane Warning was issued for Guadeloupe around 8:15 p.m. Other countries are making their own preparations.

The early Wednesday advisory shows the official track as more pronounced in the storm taking its northward turn into the weekend.  This is a reflection of some of the computer models wanting to take the storm along Florida's east coast or out to sea.  

But it's not a sign to stand down or stop preparing.  Florida remains in the track.  A South Florida landfall is possible this weekend.  The forecast will change further and there still is the possibility of significant impacts across the region. 

"The Meteorological Service of Cuba has issued a Hurricane Watch for Cuba from the provinces of Matanzas eastward to Guantanamo," The NHC announced Tuesday night.

Irma's impact on the First Coast is unclear, but we expect the weather to begin to be impacted by the storm on Sunday night into Monday.  At this point, we are expecting winds of 60 miles an hour or greater for a period that could last up to a day and a half. There is also the possibility of 6-12 inches of rain and a storm surge of 2-5 feet.

 

HURRICANE CENTRAL

Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for all 67 Florida counties ahead of Irma. 

"Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm and Florida must be prepared," Scott said.

The National Hurricane Center says "The chance of direct impacts from Irma later this week and this weekend is increasing in the Florida Keys and portions of the panhandle. However, it is too soon to specify the timing and magnitude of the impacts."

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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