The latest update (7 a.m.) from NOAA has Hurricane Irma once again at a category 4 storm, positioned over the Florida Keys at 24.4°N 81.5°W, moving: NW at 8 mph with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. (Image:NOAA)
The center reports that expected total rainfall in the Keys is 15-25 inches, with isolated areas accumulating even higher amounts. This rainfall is in addition to the potentially life-threatening storm surge of 10-15 feet above ground level.
Irma is forecast to pummel the Florida peninsula with 8-20 inches of rain, and create storm surge of 10-15 feet along the southwest coast. “Life-threatening wind impact” is expected throughout the vast majority of the state of Florida, regardless of the storm’s center track, according to NOAA.
Forecasters from around the globe were quick to caution residents of southeastern Florida not to let down their guards. The massive storm has an outreach far greater than the width of the entire peninsula, and will cause impact on both coastlines, no matter the direct center of the storm.
While many in Miami-Dade thought they’d received good news when Irma shifted to the west, by nightfall on Saturday, the outer bands of the ferocious storm served a generous portion of gravity to those who chose to stay against the evacuation orders.
The full impact of Irma is yet to make contact with south Florida. Images of the unfolding damage to the Keys along with limited video footage show the storm’s fierce appetite for destruction and the unimaginable storm surge beginning to engulf potions of the paradisal islands. The Telegraph is reporting that the Florida Keys have been “hit by the most catastrophic storm ever.”
More than 50,000 Floridians have filled the state’s shelters to capacity in order to ride out the storm. Over 6 million residents were under evacuation orders, marking what is likely the most ambitious evacuation plan in U.S. history. Governor Rick Scott has remained the constant source of timely information and no-nonsense warnings to those who call Florida home.
Ravaging twisters unleashed by Irma are terrorizing the state now. Palm Beach, Broward, and St. Lucie counties are just a few of at least 9 counties with tornado watches or warnings.
Currently, there are more than 500,000 homes and businesses without power, due to Hurricane Irma.
As Florida hopes for the best during this uncertain time, SFN11 will continue to keep you updated as information becomes available.