It’s just past 7pm and in our area of north-central Florida, the rain has settled in to moderate/heavy rates of 2 to 4 inches per hour in quick spurts. Since this morning when the first rain bands swirled in as Hurricane Irma passed through the Keys, we’ve gotten about 4 inches of rain. The east coast has been pounded all day with heavy surf, large amounts of rain, and at least 50 tornado warnings over the past nine hours. We haven’t had any severe weather yet, but that will change starting in a few hours.
The center of Irma is currently moving past Fort Myers headed north, so we are expecting wind gusts of 75 to 90mph likely between 2 and 7am Monday morning. The rain will stay heavy with additional accumulations of 6-12 inches. I don’t see any way we’ll keep power on through the height of the storm as Irma races by to our west. It won’t be until Monday night, 24 hours from now, that the winds will finally drop below tropical force. We won’t have flooding in our immediate area, although roads and retention ponds are likely to have minor overflows.
If we have power sometime on Monday, I’ll update as to any damage or significant impacts in our area. Southeast and Southwest Florida including the Keys, will have severe damage and some loss of life once daylight allows surveys.
Update 11/5/17: Several changes in the past 24-hours to Hurricane Irma. The most serious is the upgrading to a Category 5 storm with current maximum sustained winds of 185mph. That was not forecast and is likely due to the above average surface ocean temperatures. Those temps will only get even warmer as Irma moves closer to Florida. Hurricane force winds extend out 60 miles from the eye, and the storm is 350 miles in diameter. The other slight change is that the 5-6 day track has shifted to the east. The current projection center-line has the eye of Irma tracking north along the east coast of Florida on Sunday and Monday. In this scenario, there will be no direct landfall, however, the storm surge and flooding will be immense from the Keys all the way to the Carolinas. Expect rainfall amounts between one and two feet in localized areas throughout the all of South Florida.
I’ve mentioned before in comments that I live somewhere in Florida. I’ve been watching the track of Hurricane Irma since the Tropical Depression formed August 30th, off the Cabo Verde islands near the west coast of Africa. The early models had it tracking towards the Leeward Islands and that projection has been fairly accurately maintained. The long-range forecast has always stated that Irma would eventually take a right turn and head up the Atlantic Seaboard of the United States near the coast. The steering currents which will dictate the direction of Irma, depend on the strength of the Bermuda [or Azores] High and a low pressure trough across the central portion of America. With each passing day the 5-day forecast track pushes that turn closer and closer to the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, Cuba and Florida.
As of the evening of Sept 4th, that forecast looks very concerning for all the aforementioned areas with Irma as a Category 4 Hurricane passing near or over numerous heavily populated island groups. The projected turn now takes the center of the storm directly over Florida starting with the Keys and/or Miami and traveling up the Peninsula between Sept. 10th and 14th.
I will be updating daily until or unless Irma misses Florida completely. The graphs will be changed with each updated post. This has the potential to be worse than Harvey in terms of wind damage and loss of life. This is a very dangerous hurricane.
The National Hurricane Center 5-Day Forecast:
The Weather Underground Ensemble ‘Spaghetti’ Models:
overhead life swarms
towards sun broad leaves rustle
in the shade picnic
Haiku Horizon prompt, tree
I mention in my sidebar that Rumi is my favorite poet. I write poems in the style of his longing for the Beloved. If you would like to read the other seventeen poems in the series click here for the category list, and scroll down.
“Why does the Beloved turn us inside out?”
my heart frozen by her glance
I retreat to pray
a shutter bangs
halo of candlelight licks wrinkled seams
fatigue and fear etched by wind
grit sparkles in coarse beard
deep desert merciless
no matter how seasoned
flash flood sweeps both camels and men to the afterlife
when sand drinks as a thirsty beggar
the Beloved displays compassion and love
vast carpets bloom
more colorful and ornate
than the most skilled weaver looms
retiring sun embraces devout
robes of persimmon and blood
violets and lemons
diamond stars on ebony velvet
bring killing frost
stoic visage flashed to the world
emotions calm and dry
fragrant smoke billows from grill
The Twiglets prompt
show me your window
knock out a wall — better yet
lay within my arms
Haiku Horizon prompt