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Irma remains powerful CAT5 storm

Hurricane Irma (Image: NOAA)

Time for a Cool Change...

It's about that time of year...a refreshing change in the air as a pre-fall cool front swept across south Alabama Wednesday. Look for clearing skies overnight, a north breeze, and cooler temperatures in the upper 50s and low 60s first thing Thursday morning. I don't want it to come as a surprise or a shock to the system, since this will be the coolest air we've felt around here since late May!

Expect a lot of sunshine and highs in the 80s both Thursday and Friday. Those 80s will feel really nice with much lower humidity. That will stay with us through the weekend.

TROPICS:

Hurricane Irma remains a powerful category 5 storm with top sustained winds of 185 mph. That's stronger than Katrina, Andrew or Camille and no other hurricane in the Atlantic has maintained that kind of wind speed for 24 hours as Irma has. The northeastern islands of the Caribbean (Virgin Islands, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, St. Nevis, St. Martin) are currently feeling an impact, and Puerto Rico is next in line.

The latest NHC forecast track, along with forecast models we analyze here at Local 15, show a steady track towards the southern Bahamas/north coast of Cuba in 3-4 days, before making a hard right turn to the north. That would put the storm in a position to pose a significant threat to south Florida by late Saturday. From there the forecast has become a little more consistent, tracking up the east coast of Florida (but impacting most of the state). At this point, a track of Irma into the Gulf of Mexico is unlikely. We'll keep our guard up until there is no threat for south Alabama and northwest Florida, but I don't envision an impact on our area.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Jose has strengthened into a hurricane. It *may* pose a threat to the islands of the northeastern Caribbean (same areas hit by Irma) by this weekend. Eventually, the storm will swing up to the north into the open Atlantic Ocean.

Tropical Storm Katia also became a hurricane today in the far southwestern Gulf of Mexico (when it rains, it pours) but will not move very far and will likely produce heavy rain along the coast of Mexico over the next few days.

Be sure to bookmark our HURRICANE CENTER page and stay ahead of the tropics all season long.


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