Days after the US, particularly Texas, was beaten down by Hurricane Harvey, the land is threatened by another storm that makes Harvey look like a drizzle.
Irma, like most hurricanes in the Atlantic, was formed off the coast of the African continent as a wave. It slowly but surely grew in intensity having the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center keep an eye on her. However, they were awestruck when it grew in both size and intensity.
In a short time, as far as hurricanes go, it became a monstrous Category 5 storm with winds clocking in at 185 MPH and wind gusts at over 225 MPH. Meteorologists have called the storm “unprecedented, catastrophic and destructive”. Some even thought to call it a Category 6 storm!
Sure enough, it lived up to its reputation. It’s taken the lives of 21 people as it roars its way through the Caribbean. Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic and poverty-stricken Haiti have already been hit. It leaves behind devastation resembling the Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atomic bomb droppings.
And it’s not through yet.
The beast has set its sights on South Florida around the Miami-Dade county area, and is still a major hurricane even though it lost a little strength downgrading it to a Category 4 with wind speeds currently at 155 as of this writing. (It may have been upgraded back to a Category 5, or it will be.) Heavy damage, extreme flooding and powerful winds are still a threat. The damage could be in the billions of dollars, and the loss of life is certain.
Evacuations have been under way for a couple of days before the storm was close to Floridian waters. However, as with most hurricanes, some people have chosen to ride it out and take chances. After all, Florida is the hurricane capital of America. So, they’re bracing for hell to come.
After its onslaught, Irma, according to forecast data and spaghetti models, will march its way northward up the state into Georgia. By then, it would have weaken greatly, but will still present hazards to the region as a weakening Category 1 or tropical storm. High winds, heavy rain, storm surges and tornadoes are strong possibilities as it continues north to its eventual resting place in Eastern Tennessee, North Georgia and Western North and South Carolina.
My hometown was in the cone of uncertainty, an area of likelihood based on weather information of where hurricanes will travel. Thankfully, the cone has moved slightly west, out of my area, and chances are that Irma will be a tropical storm by the time it brushes up against my town. But that doesn’t mean I should let my guard down. I learned from Matthew.
Millions of buildings will be damaged. Millions of people will be without power for some time. It may take weeks or months to rebuild. Irma will serve as an example of Mother Nature’s wrath to the extreme. That is, until another hurricane breaks her records.
UPDATE: Irma has been re-upgraded back to a Category 5. Weather and spaghetti models have predicted that the storm will make landfall west of Miami and will move its way up the western coast of florida. However, it will still be massive enough that effects will be felt across the state and neighboring states.
SECOND UPDATE: Irma has been downgraded, again, as a strong Category 4 hurricane. It’s project cone of uncertainty has moved further west to now include almost all of Florida, most of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and parts of Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana and Illinois.
THIRD AND FINAL UPDATE, BECAUSE THIS STORM IS CONFUSING: Irma has been downgraded once again as a Category 3 hurricane creeping towards West Florida.
For more up-to-the-minute information, please turn to your preferred weather source.