Irma To Bring Widespread, Significant Impacts To Southeast

Hurricane Irma made landfall earlier today in the Florida Keys (as a category 4) followed by a second landfall near Marco Island, Florida. Winds have gusted as high as 100 mph in Miami with reports of 130 mph wind gusts on Marco Island. Regardless of the two landfalls today, Hurricane Irma is still a strong category 2 with sustained winds of 115 mph. Irma is expected to skirt the western coast of Florida over the next 24 hours–bringing a devastating storm surge, widespread hurricane force winds, heavy rainfall, and tornadoes. Impacts will eventually be felt well inland as Irma moves northwestward out of Georgia into western Tennessee.

Hurricane Irma Cone Through Thursday Afternoon (NHC)

Florida (now through Monday evening):
All of Florida will see hurricane conditions over the next 24 hours; this includes damaging winds, flooding, storm surge, and tornadoes. Wind gusts in excess of 100 mph are possible for all of Florida with the west coast of Florida and the Florida Panhandle potentially experiencing gusts in excess of 130 mph. Flooding is another major threat with Irma: Florida will see an additional 4-14″ of rainfall. The heaviest rain will occur across the western and northern parts of the state. Dangerous storm surge is occurring and will continue to occur along coastal areas of Florida and for low-lying areas further inland, too. Cape Sable to Captiva may see a storm surge of 10-15 feet. Isolated tornadoes are likely.

Georgia, South Carolina, and eastern Alabama (late tonight through Tuesday):
By Monday afternoon, Irma will move into south-central Georgia. Irma should still be a strong cyclone, thus, damaging winds, heavy rainfall, and isolated tornadoes can be expected for much of the Southeast through Tuesday. Tropical Storm force winds extend outward up to 220 miles and hurricane force winds extend outward up to 80 miles. This has prompted Hurricane Warnings (winds of 50-110 mph) for much of southern Georgia; Tropical Storm Warnings (winds of 40-70 mph) for the rest of Georgia, eastern Alabama, and southern South Carolina; and, High Wind Warnings (winds of 35-60 mph) for western South Carolina and northeastern Georgia. Widespread 3-8″ of rainfall is possible with isolated 10-12″ amounts in southern Georgia. Isolated tornadoes are possible.

Mississippi, Tennessee, and North Carolina (Monday night through Wednesday):
Lesser impacts will be felt across these states. Gusty winds are likely across eastern Mississippi, Tennessee, and North Carolina from Monday afternoon through Tuesday night. The higher terrain of Tennessee and North Carolina could see wind gusts up to 55 mph. A High Wind Warning is in place for southern parts of North Carolina. Heavy rainfall is possible with 2-4″. Locally higher amounts, 4-8″, are possible in southeastern parts of Tennessee and on the windward side of the ranges in North Carolina. The greatest tornado threat in these states will occur in North Carolina on Monday and Tuesday.

All three of these area, especially the first two (I: Florida, II: eastern Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina), have a chance to see power outages associated with the vast wind field of Irma. Please plan accordingly and listen to local officials in case evacuations/curfews are issued.

Tropical Storm Force Wind Speed Probability Through 5 Days (NHC)

Severe Potential–Tornadoes Sunday (SPC)

Severe Potential–Tornadoes Monday (SPC)

Severe Potential–Tornadoes Tuesday (SPC)

Rainfall Forecast Through 7 Days (WPC)

The remnants will continue northwestward through Tennessee before being ‘picked up’ and moving northeastward towards the Ohio Valley.