While the hearts and hands of many are reached out to victims of the disastrous, deadly Hurricane Harvey, Florida watches and prepares for the possible arrival of Hurricane Irma.
The dangerous category 3 hurricane is anticipated to increase in intensity as it stirs over warm waters in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. Today’s 5:00 a.m. bulletin from the National Hurricane Center (NOAA) warns that the hurricane is expected to impact the Leeward Islands with tropical storm force winds and rain beginning late tomorrow.
The report showed Irma was about 625 miles east of the Leeward Islands, with maximum sustained winds of 115 MPH. The hurricane was travelling west-southwest at around 14 MPH.
NOAA added that a turn toward the west is expected later today, followed by a west-northwestward turn late on Tuesday.
But questions regarding Irma’s impact on Florida and the east coast remain largely unanswered. The system is still too far out to accurately forecast what, if any, threat it is to our area.
Yesterday, Florida Governor Rick Scott urged the state’s residents to ensure their disaster supply kits were ready in a series of tweets.
“FL knows how important it is to be prepared. Encourage your loved ones to have a plan ahead of any potential storm,” Scott tweeted. “Disaster preparedness should be a priority for every Florida family.”
Hurricane Irma has been described by meteorologists as a classic example of a “Cape Verde hurricane,” a type of hurricane that forms in the far eastern Atlantic, near the Cape Verde Islands (now known as the Cabo Verde Islands). These hurricanes have historically been some of the largest, most intense hurricanes. Examples are Hurricane Hugo, Hurricane Floyd, and Hurricane Ivan
And Floridians are not the only ones needing to keep a close watch on Irma. Red Cross Regional Executive Officer Barry Porter told WNCN, “We put a hold on sending volunteers from the Mid-Atlantic states. There is still a lot of other states to send volunteers from, but because of this pending threat to Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, we’ve asked those volunteers to hold, update their records, and help us here in the Carolinas if we need them.”
Area supercenter’s, grocery stores, and home stores are reportedly sold-out of common supplies such as water, wing nuts, and fuel containers. Residents are urged not to panic, but to be prepared and plan ahead.
We will continue to update this report.