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Here's a look at Hurricane Irma today -- very impressive on satellite... a Category 3 storm, quite possibly heading for Category 4 (see model graph below). With more room to grow in the Atlantic, the central pressure is already down to 944 mb; remember Hurricane Harvey bottomed out just below that at 938 mb.
Models were sure of a Carolina hit yesterday, but as I said in my blog, sometimes the trends of the models are even better than the consensus. Models were trending south then, and they continue to today. The overnight and morning runs of the ATCF model group both have their finger on southern Florida today.
Every single model continues the southward trend. This opens up the possibility of Irma getting into the Gulf -- if it can survive the mountains of Cuba. It's likely that Florida will not be the storm's final destination, as we have a few more days worth of model shifts likely.
Unfortunately, this southward shift means devastation for the British Virgin Islands, northeastern Puerto Rico and Anguilla, where hurricane watches and warnings are in effect:
Only a handful of Major Hurricanes (Cat 3-5) have passed this close to the islands since 1950; Hurricane Earl in 2010 took a very similar track and caused severe damage on those islands.
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