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Continue Preparing For Hurricane Irma

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Florida’s southwest coast is preparing for a close call with a very large and powerful Hurricane Irma this weekend. We will feel impacts from this hurricane, even if there are no changes in the official forecast track and the computer models during the few days. Irma has a large wind field — so don’t be surprised to see some periods of hurricane force winds (along with sustained tropical storm force winds) on Saturday through Sunday and possibly into Monday even far from the center. There’s a strong possibility of life-threatening storm surge in portions of the Keys — so anyone on the island chain should get out now. Expect heavy rain from Irma in much of Florida, so flooding is possible in many locations. The message is: get ready now and be in a safe place by Friday night — and plan on staying there until sometime on Monday.

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preparingAs of 5 am Thursday, there are no watches or warnings for Florida, but that is expected to change later in the morning. A hurricane warning is in effect for all of the Bahamas. Irma is expected to reach the Turks and Caicos Thursday evening.

Here’s the statistics on Irma as of 5 am Thursday. It was located near 20.0 North, 68.3 West, and was moving west-northwest at 17 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds were 180 miles per hour, and some fluctuation in intensity is possible.

preparingWe’ll have mostly decent weather to prepare on Thursday and Friday. Look for a mix of sun and clouds, humidity, and a few afternoon storms on both days. Highs will be mostly in the low 90s, with some locations reaching the mid 90s. But it will feel as if temperatures are in the triple digits, so stay hydrated. Expect conditions to deteriorate on Friday night, so get all of your outdoor preparations done during the daylight hours on Friday.

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Copyright 2017 SW Florida Reporter
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Donna Thomas has studied hurricanes for two decades. She holds a PhD in history when her experience with Hurricane Andrew ultimately led her to earn a degree in broadcast meteorology from Mississippi State University. Donna spent 15 years at WFOR-TV (CBS4 in Miami-Fort Lauderdale), where she worked as a weather producer with hurricane experts Bryan Norcross and David Bernard. She also produced hurricane specials and weather-related features and news coverage, as well as serving as pool TV producer at the National Hurricane Center during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Donna also served as a researcher on NOAA's Atlantic Hurricane Database Reanalysis Project. Donna specializes in Florida's hurricane history.