Hurricane Irma Path A Growing United States Threat
UPDATE: Irma now dangerous Category 5 Hurricane | Florida residents begin evacuations. Please read our how to survive a hurricane guide if you are unsure of what to do, or if you know someone who may not be preparing for the worst.
With the Texas Gulf Coast still enduring the effects of Hurricane Harvey, it is not presumptuous in any way to consider the news of a new powerful hurricane forming in the Atlantic and eyeing the United States to be rather, untimely. The aftermath in Texas and Louisiana continues to be a struggle, even now with sparse gas supplies (learn how to siphon gas). But unfortunately, mother nature waits for no one, as is the case with newly formed Hurricane Irma. Irma, previously an isolated depression formed off the coast of Africa, exploded into a category 2 hurricane this afternoon as it sets a path towards the east coast or Carribean (this all remains to be seen). However, it isn’t out of the realm to note the extreme risk Hurricane Irma could present if it were to slip into the Gulf of Mexico and follow Harvey’s path. Additionally, Hurricane Irma’s path doesn’t rule out Florida or other East Coast options due to its distance.
The National Hurricane Center, as of Thursday, has classified Hurricane Irma as a category 2 hurricane. That means it has 100 mph winds clocked. But that’s not the worst news. The worse news is that the NHC also projects that Hurricane Irma will reach category 4 strength over the course of the next few days. That would make for a highly volatile storm capable of extreme damage similar to Hurricane Harvey.
Hurricane Irma’s projected path will depend on a great many factors. For now, Irma is located east of the Leeward Islands, just under 2,000 miles. That means Irma’s threat is moderate in concern with the Carribean. Irma’s path could include the Carribean and through the Gulf or Mexico, or up to Florida, or even all the way up through the Carolinas. Here are the spaghetti models.
Here’s the bad news with this 15-day model. Any southerly route, which most models agree upon, means that Irma can easily grow into a powerful category 5 hurricane. The warm tropical Atlantic waters have a history, particularly in September, of fueling monster hurricanes. Remember, Hurricane Andrew was a benefit of late August tropical Atlantic temperatures.
Hurricane Irma is rapid intensification. And this makes for a bad situation.
Another system is developing in the Gulf of Mexico could threaten a Tropical Storm development over the course of the next few days. If this development happens, it could mean that Texas and Louisiana would be in for more rain. If both scenarios play out and Texas and Louisiana were to take on a Tropical Storm, followed by Hurricane Irma, it would be colossal and reminiscent of the 2005 hurricane season when a series of hurricanes, including Charlie and Katrina, targetted Gulf states.
Hurricane Irma remains a too far off for precise predictions, however, it is certainly showing signs that both Gulf Coast and East Coast residents should certainly consider their hurricane prepping efforts. Hurricane Harvey should be reminder enough of the type of massive damage and loss of life that a large hurricane can bring on communities. The best thing you can do if Hurricane Irma targets your community is leave. It is a reasonable situation for you (you can work remotely, you have the financial freedom), you should leave. If you feel you might be in a situation to ride out Irma, be prepped with essential supplies. And make sure you have a bug out bag.
Prepping for a hurricane means prepping for potential flooding, extended power outages and the potential for some civil unrest (see Houston). Right now, Hurricane Irma is serving up a big reminder that hurricane season is just now underway. It is up to all preppers out there to heed the warning and ultimately, prep for the worst. We will keep everyone updated as the National Hurricane Center continues to learn more about Irma’s potential domestic effects.
UPDATE (September 2): Hurricane Imra expected to restrengthen today and tomorrow (Category 4 status anticipated).
UPDATE (September 3): Florida, Carolinas, advised to begin prepping for potential dangerous Hurricane Irma
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.
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