Irma becomes a cat 5

Hurricane Irma has now become a cat 5 hurricane, which is the highest category for ranking hurricane intensity.  Maximum sustained winds of 175 mph were measured this morning, with winds of 215 mph found just off the surface, meaning the storm is likely to strengthen further. The storm has an absolutely perfect appearance on satellite this morning.

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This is the projected path of Irma, as well as the active hurricane watches/warnings now in effect (red and pink areas). The margin of error at the end of that cone is about 200 miles. A state of emergency has been issued for Florida in anticipation for impacts from Irma by this coming weekend.

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It’s still a bit too early to tell what, if any, impacts Irma will have on us here in TN. It’s also too early to tell who will have the greatest impact along the coast. Residents all along the Southeast coast and the Gulf of Mexico are being told to prepare for anything.

As for our weather, we have some threatening skies this morning but all of the storms have been, and are expected to remain, below severe limits. The rain and storms should move out by Wednesday morning. The big news with this front is the colder air behind it. Highs Wed and Thurs should stay in the mid to upper 60s, with overnight lows in the mid 40s. A taste of fall that is coming about two weeks early. The forecast looks great right on through the weekend, with highs climbing to near 70 by Friday.

I’ll keep watching the tropics. We’re definitely nearing the peak of hurricane season. This map is a bit disturbing this morning, as well, showing two more systems worth keeping an eye on.

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The red ‘x’ southeast of Irma will become Jose later today or tomorrow. The area of disturbed weather in the southwest Gulf could become Katia soon after that. Both areas need to monitored closely.

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