MIAMI, Florida- Hurricane Irma is expected to bring seas up to 10 feet above normal and possibly 20 inches of rain to the Florida Keys.
The National Hurricane Center says extremely dangerous Hurricane Irma is centered at 2 p.m. EDT about 145 miles (235 km) southeast of Key West, Florida, moving just north of due west along the north coast of Cuba at near 9 mph (15 km/h). A northwest motion is expected to begin later today with a turn toward the north-northwest on Sunday. On the forecast track, the core of Irma will continue to move near or over the north coast of Cuba this afternoon, and will reach the Florida Keys Sunday morning, the agency said.
IRMA KEY FACTS
3:00 PM EDT Sat Sep 9
Location: 23.1°N 80.3°W
Moving: W at 9 mph
Min pressure: 938 mb
Max sustained: 125 mph
The hurricane is expected to move along or near the southwest coast of Florida Sunday afternoon. Maximum sustained winds are near 125 mph (205 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Irma is forecast to restrengthen once it moves away from Cuba, and Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane as it approaches Florida. A NOAA plane is airborne en route to investigate Irma.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km). The estimated minimum central pressure is 941 mb (27.79 inches).
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect from the Volusia/Brevard County line southward around the Florida peninsula to the Suwanee River, including the Florida Keys and Tampa Bay. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect from north of the
Volusia/Brevard County line to the Isle of Palms, South Carolina
and north of the Suwanee River to Ochlockonee River.
The water is expected to reach the following HEIGHTS ABOVE GROUND if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…
Cape Sable to Captiva…10 to 15 ft
Captiva to Ana Maria Island…6 to 10 ft
Card Sound Bridge through Cape Sable, including the Florida
Keys…5 to 10 ft
Ana Maria Island to Clearwater Beach, including Tampa Bay…5 to 8 ft
North Miami Beach to Card Sound Bridge, including Biscayne Bay…4 to 6 ft
Isle of Palms, South Carolina to Fernandina Beach…4 to 6 ft
Clearwater Beach to Ochlockonee River…4 to 6 ft
Fernandina Beach to North Miami Beach…2 to 4 ft
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Fernandina Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to the Aucilla River, including the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee, and Florida Bay, as well as the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Matanzas, and Havana, and Andros Island, Bimini and Grand Bahama. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for north of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach, west of the Aucilla River to Indian Pass and the Cuban provinces of Holguin and Las Tunas. A few tornadoes are possible today and tonight over southern Florida.
For storm information specific to your area in the United States, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office www.weather.gov. For storm information specific to your area outside the United States, please monitor products issued by your national meteorological service.
The next complete advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 5 p.m. EDT with an intermediate advisory at 2 p.m. EDT –www.hurricanes.gov