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    Jesse Ferrell

    Hurricane Irma landfall trends south - could it get into Gulf?

    By Jesse Ferrell, AccuWeather meteorologist
    9/04/2017, 2:24:02 PM

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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.

    Hurricane Irma Satellite 9/4

    Irma Intensity Forecast Graph 9/4

    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.

    Hurricane Irma Tracks Overnight 9/4

    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.

    Irma Model Trending South 9/4

    Unfortunately, this southward shift means devastation for the British Virgin Islands, northeastern Puerto Rico and Anguilla, where hurricane watches and warnings are in effect:

    Hurricane Irma vs. the Islands 9/4

    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.

    Historical Hurricane Tracks in the Virgin Islands 1950-2016

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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    Jesse Ferrell