Tag Archives: Alabama

System Could Bring Heavy Rain to Southeast U.S.

A weather system over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico could bring heavy rain to the southeastern U.S. this week.  An upper level low over the eastern Gulf of Mexico could transfer enough kinetic energy down to the lower troposphere to spin up a low at the surface.  Air flowing around the eastern side of the low is contributing to upper level divergence over Florida.  The divergence enhanced rising motion over Florida and rain fell over parts of the southern and central portions of that state.

The weather system is forecast to move slowly northward during the next several days.  The Sea Surface Temperatures in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico are 24°C to 26°C.  There is enough energy in the upper levels of the water to support the formation of a tropical cyclone.  The upper level low will create southerly winds which will cause moderate vertical wind shear.  The shear will inhibit development, although those winds could contribute to upper level divergence to the east of the weather system.  Upper level divergence could allow the surface pressure to decrease and a low pressure system could form at the surface.  The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a special Tropical Weather Outlook on Sunday afternoon on the weather system.  NHC indicated the probability was 40% that a tropical or subtropical cyclone could form during the next five days.

Guidance from numerical models suggest that the weather system will move slowly northward over the eastern Gulf of Mexico during the next few days.  Counterclockwise rotation around the low will transport moist air northward on the eastern side of the low.  The moist air combined with upper level divergence will create the potential for locally heavy rainfall over the southeastern U.S.  Heavy rain could result in floods in some locations.

Hurricane Nate Brings Gusty Winds and Surge to Mississippi Coast

Hurricane Nate brought gusty winds, heavy rain and a storm surge to the coast of Mississippi on Saturday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Hurricane Nate was located at latitude 29.9°N and longitude 89.1°W which put it about 35 miles (60 km) south-southwest of Biloxi, Mississippi.  Nate was moving toward the north at 20 m.p.h. (32 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 85 m.p.h. (140 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 983 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from the mouth of the Pearl River to the Alabama/Florida border.  Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portion of the coast from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the mouth of the Pearl River, for New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain and for the coast from the Alabama/Florida border to Indian Pass, Florida.

Some drier air wrapped into the western side of Hurricane Nate on Saturday afternoon.  In addition an upper level trough approaching Nate from the west produced southwesterly winds which caused vertical wind shear.  The drier air and shear caused the circulation of Hurricane Nate to become asymmetrical.  The stronger winds are occurring in the eastern half of the circulation.  The winds are weaker in the western side of the hurricane.  The bands of showers and thunderstorms are also occurring in the eastern half of Hurricane Nate.  Very little rain was falling on the western side of the hurricane.

The partial eyewall north of the center of Hurricane Nate was moving over the coast of Mississippi from Pascagoula to Gulfport.  Strong gusty winds and heavy rain were falling on that section of the coast.  Winds blowing water toward the coast were pushing a storm surge onto the coast.  A water level gauge at a NOAA laboratory in Pascagoula, Mississippi was reporting a storm surge of 6.75 feet (2.06 meters).  The highest surges were occurring in Mississippi, but there were also storm surges on the coast of Alabama and Florida.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were dropping heavy rain over southeastern Mississippi, southwestern and central Alabama and northwestern Florida.  Brief tornadoes spun up in some of the thunderstorms on Saturday.

Hurricane Nate will move inland over southeastern Mississippi during the overnight hours.  Nate will weaken after it moves inland, but it will continue to bring gusty winds as it spins down.  There is a strong flow of moist air from the south and heavy rain will continue to fall east of the track of Hurricane Nate.  Places west of the track will experience weaker winds and will receive little rain.  Locations west of a line from New Orleans to Hattiesburg to Meridian,  Mississippi could see little minimal impacts from Nate.  Nate will cross over west central Alabama on Sunday morning.  It will continue to move toward the north-northeast and the remnants of Nate could reach eastern Tennessee on Sunday night.  Areas of heavy rain will fall over northwestern Florida, Alabama, northern Georgia, eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina.  Fresh water flooding could occur in some of those areas.  Tornadoes could develop in the rainbands again on Sunday afternoon.

Hurricane Nate Speeds Toward Gulf Coast

Strengthening Hurricane Nate sped toward the central Gulf Coast on Saturday.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Hurricane Nate was located at latitude 26.6°N and longitude 88.4°W which put it about 265 miles (425 km) south of Biloxi, Mississippi.  Nate was moving toward the north-northwest at 26 m.p.h. (43 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 90 m.p.h. (150 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 105 m.p.h. (165 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 984 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border including New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.  A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County line and from Grand Isle to Morgan City, Louisiana.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama/Florida border to Indian Pass, Florida and from Grand Isle to Morgan City.  A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Morgan City to Intracoastal City, Louisiana.

Hurricane Nate strengthened on Saturday as it moved over the warm water in the Gulf of Mexico.  An eye with a diameter of 30 miles (50 km) began to form at the center of circulation.  A ring of thunderstorms around the eye was generating strong upper level divergence which pumped mass away from Hurricane Nate.  The strongest winds were occurring in the eastern side of the circulation.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 35 miles (55 km) east of the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 120 miles (195 km) east of the center, but they only extend out about 60 miles (95 km) to the west of the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Nate is 13.9.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) is 7.7 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) is 21.6.

Hurricane Nate will continue to intensify during the next 12 hours until it makes landfall.  Nate will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 29°C.  An upper low over the western Gulf of Mexico is producing southerly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation.  However, there are also southerly winds in the lower levels of the atmosphere and as a result, there is not much vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Nate is likely to intensify to a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale before it makes landfall.  There is a chance Hurricane Nate could intensify to Category 3 before landfall, if it continues to intensify rapidly.

The upper low and an upper level ridge east of Florida are combining to steer Hurricane Nate quickly toward the north-northwest and that motion is expected to continue for the next few hours.  An upper level trough over the Central U.S. will approach Nate on Saturday night as the hurricane nears the coast.  The trough will turn Hurricane Nate more toward the north as it reaches the coast.  The trough should steer Nate quickly toward the north-northeast after it makes landfall.  On its anticipated track the center of Hurricane Nate will pass near the mouth of the Mississippi River on Saturday evening.  The center of Nate will likely make landfall on the coast of Mississippi or near Mobile on Saturday night.

Hurricane Nate will be capable of causing regional serious damage when it makes landfall.  Nate will produce strong winds, especially in locations east of the track of the hurricane.  Nate will also be capable of producing a storm surge of 10 to 12 feet (3 to 4 meters) along the coast.  The surge will be higher in bays, inlets and mouths of rivers that funnel the water into specific areas.  Nate will also be capable of dropping heavy rain as it moves inland.

Stronger Tropical Storm Nate Speeds Toward Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Warning for New Orleans

A stronger Tropical Storm Nate sped toward the Gulf of Mexico on Friday afternoon and a Hurricane Warning was issued for the city of New Orleans.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday the center of Tropical Storm Nate was located at latitude 20.3°N and longitude 85.7°W which put it about 80 miles (125 km) east of Cozumel, Mexico and about 710 miles (1145 km) south-southeast of New Orleans, Louisiana.  Nate was moving toward the north-northwest at 21 m.p.h. (33 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 60 m.p.h. (95 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 75 m.p.h. (120 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 993 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border including New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.  A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from the Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County line in Florida.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Grand Isle to Morgan City, Louisiana and from the Alabama/Florida border to the Okaloosa/Walton County line.  A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect from Morgan City to Intracoastal City, Lousiana and from the Okaloosa/Walton County line to Indian Pass, Florida.  A Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Warning are in effect for the portion of the coast from Punta Herrero to Rio Lagartos, Mexico.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Pinar del Rio province in Cuba.  A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Isle of Youth province in Cuba.

The inner core of Tropical Storm Nate tightened up on Friday afternoon.  A primary rainband wrapped about three quarters of the way around the center of circulation.  There was an opening to the northeast of the center.  The rainband could develop into an eyewall if it wraps completely around the center of circulation.  Additional bands of showers and thunderstorms formed outside the core of Tropical Storm Nate.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 125 miles (200 km) to the east of the center of circulation.  The winds were weaker in the western half of the circulation.  Thunderstorms near the core began to generate stronger upper level divergence which was pumping out mass and the surface pressure decreased on Friday afternoon.

Tropical Storm Nate will move through an environment favorable for intensification on Saturday.  Nate will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  An upper level low over the western Gulf of Mexico is producing southerly winds which are blowing toward the top of the circulation but the vertical wind shear is not too strong.  Tropical Storm Nate will become a hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico.  If an eyewall and an eye form, then Nate could have a period of rapid intensification.

The upper low over the western Gulf of Mexico and a ridge east of Florida are combining to steer Tropical Storm Nate toward the north-northwest and that general motion is expected to continue on Saturday.  An upper level trough approaching from the west will turn Nate toward the northeast when it nears the U.S.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Nate will pass near the northeastern end of the Yucatan peninsula and move into the Gulf of Mexico on Friday night.  Nate will approach southeastern Louisiana and Central Gulf Coast on Saturday night.

Nate will be a hurricane when it nears the U.S.  It will be capable of producing serious regional wind damage and power outages.  Nate could cause a storm surge of 10-12 feet (3 to 4 meters) near where the center makes landfall.  Nate could also drop locally heavy rain and cause fresh water flooding when it moves inland in the southern U.S.

Tropical Storm Nate Makes Landfall in Nicaragua

Tropical Depression Sixteen strengthened into Tropical Storm Nate and Nate made landfall on the coast of northeastern Nicaragua on Thursday morning.  At 2:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Nate was located at latitude 14.5°N and longitude 84.0°W which put it about 50 miles (80 km) south-southwest of Puerto Lempira, Honduras.  Nate was moving toward the northwest at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1001 mb.

A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Punta Herrero to Rio Lagartos, Mexico.  A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect from Punta Herrero to Rio Lagartos.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Sandy Bay Sirpi, Nicaragua to Punta Castilla, Honduras.

The center of Tropical Depression Sixteen strengthened on Thursday morning before it made landfall in Nicaragua and the National Hurricane Center designated the system as Tropical Storm Nate.  Showers and thunderstorms continue to develop near the center of circulation even though it is moving across northeastern Nicaragua.  The winds to tropical storm force are occurring in bands of showers and storms east of the center over the Caribbean Sea.  The winds are weaker in the portions of the circulation that are over land.

Tropical Storm Nate will not strengthen while the center is over land.  Nate will move into a favorable environment when it moves over the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday.  The Sea Surface Temperature will be near 30°C.  An upper level low will cause southerly winds to blow toward the top of the circulation, but the vertical wind shear is not likely to be strong enough to prevent intensification.  It could take a few hours for the inner core of the circulation to reorganize after it moves back over water.  Once the inner core reorganizes, then a period of rapid intensification could occur.  Nate could become a hurricane over the northwest Caribbean Sea or southern Gulf of Mexico.

An upper level low west of Florida will drift westward over the Gulf of Mexico.  The upper low and an upper level ridge east of Florida will combine to steer Tropical Storm Nate toward the north-northwest.  On its anticipated track Tropical Storm Nate will emerge over the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday.  Nate could be near the Yucatan peninsula on Friday night and it could move into the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday.  Nate could approach the northern Gulf Coast on Saturday night or Sunday morning.

Tropical Storm Nate is dropping heavy rain on parts of Nicaragua and Honduras.  There is the potential for flooding in those areas.  Nate is likely to be a hurricane when it approaches the Gulf Coast.  It will be capable of causing wind damage, a storm surge and locally heavy rain.

Tropical Depression 16 Organizes Near Nicaragua

Tropical Depression Sixteen organized near Nicaragua on Wednesday.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Tropical Depression Sixteen was located at latitude 12.8°N and longitude 82.7°W which put it about 95 miles (155 km) south-southeast of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua.  It was moving toward the northwest at 6 m.p.h. (10 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 35 m.p.h. (55 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 45 m.p.h. (75 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1004 mb.

A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Punta Herrero to Cabo Catoche, Mexico.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Sandy Bay Sirpi, Nicaragua to Punta Castilla, Honduras.

The circulation of Tropical Depression Sixteen exhibited more organization on Wednesday.  An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance aircraft found a distinct surface center of circulation on Wednesday afternoon.  More thunderstorms began to form near the center on Wednesday evening.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms developed on the northern and southern sides of the circulation.  There were sustained winds in some of the bands that were near tropical storm force.

Tropical Depression Sixteen will move through an environment that will be favorable for intensification during the next several days.  It will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 30°C.  The upper level winds will be weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Some of the western part of the circulation is passing over Nicaragua and the increased friction is the only factor inhibiting intensification.  If the center of circulation stays over water, then the depression will likely strengthen into a tropical storm on Thursday.  If the center of circulation moves over northeastern Nicaragua, then the depression will weaken.  The system is likely to strengthen when it moves over the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday.

A ridge of high pressure is steering the tropical depression slowly toward the northwest and that motion is expected to continue for another day or so.  An upper low near the west coast of Florida is going to move west across the Gulf of Mexico.  When the upper low gets northwest of Tropical Depression Sixteen, it will start to pull the depression more toward the north.  On its anticipated track the center of Tropical Depression Sixteen will move near or over northeastern Nicaragua on Thursday.  The depression could drop very heavy rain and cause floods in parts of Nicaragua and Honduras.  It is forecast to move over the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday and the depression could be near the northeastern Yucatan peninsula by Friday night.  The depression is expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday.  There is more uncertainty about the future track of the system after that time.

Low Pressure Develops Over Southwest Caribbean Sea

An area of low pressure developed over the southwestern Caribbean Sea on Tuesday afternoon and the system was designated Invest 90L.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday the center of Invest 90L was located at latitude 12.0°N and longitude 80.7°W which put it about 200 miles (320 km) east of Bluefields, Nicaragua.  It was moving toward the west-northwest at 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 30 m.p.h. (50 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1008 mb.

The circulation of Invest 90L was still organizing on Tuesday afternoon.  The area of low pressure appeared to have a distinct center of circulation.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms were forming south and east of the center of circulation.  There were fewer showers and thunderstorms northwest of the center.  There was some upper level divergence that was pumping mass away to the south and west of the center.

Invest 90L will be moving through an environment favorable for intensification.  The Sea Surface Temperature in the southwest Caribbean Sea is near 30°C and the warm water is fairly deep.  The energy content of the water in that area is high.  An upper level ridge centered over the western Gulf of Mexico is producing northeasterly which are blowing toward the northwestern side of Invest 90L.  Those winds are producing some vertical wind shear, but the shear is not likely to be strong enough to prevent the formation of a tropical cyclone.  Invest 90L is likely to become a tropical depression or storm during the next 24 to 48 hours.  If the center remains east of Nicaragua, rapid intensification could occur after the circulation consolidates around the low level center.

Invest 90L is moving slowly toward the west-northwest as it moves near the southern side of a mid-level ridge.  That ridge could steer Invest 90L close to the coast of Nicaragua during the next several days.  The mid-level ridge is forecast to move east to near the Bahamas during the next 24 to 48 hours.  After that time, southerly winds are forecast to steer Invest 90L toward the north.  On its anticipated track the center of Invest 90L could move very close to Nicaragua during the next day or two.  It could bring locally heavy rain to Nicaragua and Honduras.  Invest 90L could move into the Gulf of Mexico in a few days.  The intensity of Invest 90L when it reaches the Gulf will depend on how much it interacts with Nicaragua and the Yucatan peninsula.  If the center stays over water, then it could be a hurricane when it reaches the Gulf of Mexico.  If the center spends more time over land, then the system will be weaker when it reaches the Gulf.  Some models are forecasting that a hurricane could make landfall on the northern Gulf Coast during the weekend.

Tropical Storm Irma Still Bringing Gusty Winds and Storm Surges to Southeast U.S.

Tropical Storm Irma was still bringing gusty winds, locally heavy rain and storm surges to parts of the Southeastern U.S. on Monday afternoon.  Gusty winds were blowing down trees and bringing down power lines in parts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.  Locally heavy rainfall resulted in the issuance of Flood Watches and Warnings for portions of those states.  Strong winds were blowing water toward the coast in northeastern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.  Storm surges caused flooding in Jacksonville, Florida and Savannah, Georgia.  The water level at Charleston, South Carolina was higher than it was during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Tropical Storm Irma was located at latitude 31.5°N and longitude 84.0°W which put it about 10 miles (15 km) east of Albany, Georgia.  Irma was moving toward the north-northwest at 17 m.p.h.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 65 m.p.h. (105 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 985 mb.

A Tropical Storm Warning remained in effect for the portion of the coast from Altamaha Sound to South Santee River.

The structure of Tropical Storm Irma evolved as it moved further inland.  Drier air wrapped around the  western side of the circulation.  Convergence between a large surface high north of Irma and the tropical storm produced heavy rain northeast of the center of circulation.  The heaviest rain fell over Georgia, South Carolina and the western half of North Carolina.  The northern edge of the rain shield was moving over Tennessee and southeast Kentucky.  The pressure difference between the high and Irma also generated strong winds in the eastern half of Irma’s circulation.  Those strong winds pushed water toward the coast in northern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.  The wind caused storm surges of up to 10 feet (3 meters) in some locations.  Water was reported in parts of downtown Jacksonville, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina.

Tropical Storm Irma will continue to move toward the north-northwest and weaken.  The circulation of Irma is very large, and it will take a few more days to spin completely.  There could be stronger winds in the high elevations of Appalachian Mountains.  Locally heavy rain could also create the potential for floods in some valleys.  The storm surges along the coast should gradually subside as the wind speeds decrease.

Elsewhere, Hurricane Jose was moving northward east of the Bahamas.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Monday the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 31.5°N and longitude 84.0°W which put it about 555 miles (895 km) east of Nassau, Bahamas.  Jose was moving toward the north at 12 m.p.h. (19 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 100 m.p.h. (160 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 973 mb.  Hurricane Jose is forecast to make a slow clockwise loop this week.  On it anticipated track Hurricane Jose could still be east of the Bahamas at the end of the week.

Hurricane Irma Makes Landfall on Marco Island, Florida

The center of Hurricane Irma made landfall on the coast at Marco Island, Florida on Sunday afternoon.  The Marco Island Emergency Operations Center reported a wind gust to 135 m.p.h. (217 km/h) when the northern portion of the eyewall passed over.  The airport at Naples, Florida reported sustained winds to 88 m.p.h. (142 km/h) and wind gusts to 135 m.p.h. (217 km/h).

At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday the center of Hurricane Irma was located at latitude 26.2°N and longitude 81.8°W which put it about 5 miles (10 km) north of Naples, Florida.  Irma was moving toward the north at 14 m.p.h. (22 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 110 m.p.h. (175 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 130 m.p.h. (210 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 938 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Fernandina Beach to Indian Pass, Florida including the Florida Keys and Lake Okeechobee.  A Hurricane Watch was in effect from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Edisto Beach, South Carolina.  A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Fernandina Beach, Florida to the South Santee River, South Carolina and from Indian Pass, Florida to the Okaloosa/Walton County line.  A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for Bimini and Grand Bahama Island.

The intensity of Hurricane Irma decreased gradually on Sunday.  The hurricane began to pull in some drier air over the southeastern U.S. into the west side of the circulation.  In addition an upper level trough over the eastern U.S. caused an increase in the vertical wind shear.  The drier air and increased shear also produced a more asymmetrical wind field around Hurricane Irma.  The area of stronger winds was much larger in the eastern half of the circulation than it was on the western half of the circulation.  Winds to hurricane force extended out 80 miles (130 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 220 miles (350 km) from the center.

Hurricane Irma will gradually weaken as it moves northward over Florida.  Irma is a large hurricane and it will spin down slowly.  Hurricane Irma will move steadily northward.  Irma is forecast to still be a hurricane when the center moves near Tampa and Central Florida.  Hurricane Irma is capable of causing widespread significant wind damage.  Isolated tornadoes could develop in thunderstorms in the outer rainbands.  Hurricane Irma will produce storm surges over a long section of the coast.  There was not much surge on the west coast of Florida on Sunday afternoon, because the winds were blowing the water away from the coast.  However, after the center moves north of an area, the wind will blow from the opposite direction and the water will rise quickly at the coast.  A station on the coast near Naples, Florida reported a water rise of six feet (two meters) in less than two hours after the center of Hurricane passed to the east.  Easterly winds on the eastern fringe of Hurricane Irma were blowing the water toward the coast and there were water rises from Miami, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina.  Strong southwesterly winds were still causing storm surges in the Florida Keys.  Hurricane Irma will also drop heavy rain over a prolonged period and it could cause freshwater flooding of rivers and streams.

Elsewhere over the tropical Atlantic Hurricane Jose moved away from the northern Leeward Islands on Sunday.  At 5:00 p.m. EDT om Sunday the center of Hurricane Jose was located at latitude 22.8°N and longitude 66.9°W which put it about 285 miles (455 km) east-northeast of Grand Turk Island.  Jose was moving toward northwest at 16 m.p.h. (26 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 120 m.p.h. (195 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 140 m.p.h. (225 km/h).  Hurricane Jose is forecast to stall over the tropical Atlantic east of the Bahamas and it could make a long slow loop during the next week.

Hurricane Irma Batters Florida Keys

Hurricane Irma battered the Florida Keys on Sunday morning.  At 9:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday morning the center of Hurricane Irma was located at latitude 24.5°N and longitude 81.5°W which put it about 30 miles (50 km) east-northeast of Key West, Florida.  Irma was moving toward the north-northwest at 8 m.p.h.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 130 m.p.h. (215 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 150 m.p.h. (240 km/h).  Hurricane Irma was a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.  The minimum surface pressure was 929 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Fernandina Beach to Indian Pass, Florida including the Florida Keys and Lake Okeechobee.   A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Edisto Beach, South Carolina.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the portion of the coast from Fernandina Beach to South Santee River, South Carolina and from Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County line.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Cuban provinces of La Habana and Matanzas.  A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Bimini and Grand Bahama Island.

An outer eyewall started to wrap around the original eye of Hurricane Irma, but Irma did not go through an eyewall repacement cycle.  The original eyewall remained intact and the strongest winds were occurring in that eyewall.  The uncompleted formation of an outer eyewall did result in an increase in the size of Hurricane Irma.  Winds to hurricane force extend out about 80 miles (130 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out over 200 miles (320 km) from the center.

The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Irma was 25.1.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 24.2 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 49.3.  Hurricane Irma is not quite as strong as Hurricane Charley was when Charley hit southwest Florida.  However, Hurricane Irma is much bigger than Charley was.  Hurricane Irma is stronger than Hurricane Wilma was when Wilma hit south Florida in 2005.  Irma is a little smaller than Wilma was.

Carysfort Reef Light near Key Largo reported a wind gust of 93 m.p.h. (150 km/h).  Hurricane Irma is causing winds to hurricane force over much of the Florida Keys.  Winds to tropical storm force are occurring in areas around Miami, Florida.

Hurricane Irma has turned toward the north.  The core of Hurricane Irma could make a landfall on the southwest coast of Florida between Everglades City and Naples, Florida later this afternoon.  Hurricane Irma could move northward near the west coast of Florida.  The center of Hurricane Irma could reach the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and Central Florida on Sunday night.

Hurricane Irma is large and dangerous hurricane.  It is capable of causing widespread extensive damage.  There are likely to be widespread power outages.  Irma will also generate a storm surge of 15 feet (5 meters) in some locations.  Irma will drop locally heavy rain and flooding could occur in some places.