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Hot Labor Day; Hurricane Irma Concerns

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hot Labor DayFlorida’s southwest coast will see a hot Labor Day, but our big concern is the future track of Hurricane Irma. At 5 am Monday, Irma was located near 16.9 North, 52.3 West, and was moving west-southwest at 14 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds were 115 miles per hour, but Irma is expected to strengthen (and may already have done so, based on satellite images from early Monday).

hot Labor DayIrma will be in or near portions of the Lesser Antilles by late Tuesday, and hurricane warnings are up. Computer model runs have shifted westward and indicate that the trough that could have allowed Irma to turn soon enough to turn well east of the U.S. coast is not likely to be strong enough to do so.

Additional data from reconnaissance flights into Irma will sharpen the picture. But right now, we have to be aware that a major hurricane could be in our neighborhood next weekend. It’s time to think about what you need to do to get ready if we feel the fringes of the system — or worse.

Take some time on the holiday to do those things that you’d need to do (especially getting supplies or gassing up your car) before the rush begins. It’s also a good idea to check your shutters and make sure you have all the hardware you need — just in case we’ll need to put up shutters later.

hot Labor DayLabor Day should be good for outdoor activities early, but it will be hot. Look for good sun and a few clouds early, but late-day storms will develop in spots. Localized flooding is possible in some locations. Highs on Monday will be in the sweltering mid 90s.

hot Labor DayTuesday will bring sun and clouds and some afternoon storms along the Gulf breeze. Tuesday’s highs will be in the low 90s.

Wednesday will see more of the same — sun and clouds and late afternoon and early evening storms. Wednesday’s highs will be in the low 90s.

Look for passing showers and storms on Thursday, along with periods of sun. Highs on Thursday will be in the low 90s.

Friday’s forecast will depend on the track of Hurricane Irma, but for now we’ll say that it will feature passing showers and storms. Friday’s highs will be in the low 90s.

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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.