IRMA FORECAST TO MAKE LANDFALL AS MAJOR HURRICANE
Hurricane Irma devastated Barbuda, St. Maarten, the Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos as the second strongest Atlantic hurricane of record with winds of 185 mph.
The forecast path from the National Hurricane Center has been very consistent with a slight shift west. Looking at the path below, Irma begins impacting south Florida with tropical storm force winds Saturday morning and with hurricane force winds very early Sunday morning. There are still some shifts likely in the path; however, Florida will take a hit from a category 4 or 5 hurricane this weekend. However, the impact will extend far beyond south Florida. Heavy rain and gusty winds extend well north into Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee by early next week. The area outlined over the United States impacts about 43 million people.
Now 43 million is a big number and Irma is a scary storm. But, we have to be rational. Not all people will be impacted by Irma equally. Anyone near the coast from Florida north to North Carolina is exposed to the strongest winds and highest storm surge – they are at greatest risk. If you are inland from south Florida north into Tennessee and Kentucky, the wind will not be nearly as strong and there is no storm surge. The greatest threat inland is from flash flooding and falling branches from tropical storm force winds.
GET ORGANIZED, BE PREPARED, HAVE A PLAN
So, there is a lot to discuss and if you are in the path, you are stressed. So, how can you get organized and be as best prepared for Irma?
First, lets make sure you are using accurate, credible and reliable sources. Here are 5 recommendations from the National Weather Service (NWS) for ensuring you receive the best, most accurate and timely information. If you use this guideline, you are better informed and enhance your ability to communicate with friends and family. In addition to these suggestions, I would add fully charging your electronics
and battery backups.
Now, if you can stay safely at home, here are guidelines that cover insurance, securing your home and building up your supplies to ride out the storm at home. AS of today, there is little you can do about insurance, but knowing what is covered is good. Take pictures or video of every room in your house. This could be very valuable if you need to file a claim. Definitely take time to clean up the yard from loose
materials. This is a great job to give to your kids. Finally, supplies should include canned food and a can opener. If you have camping gear (cooking utensils, dried food.. not the tent!) use it.
Finally, here are the threats from Irma and all tropical systems. The stronger the storm, typically, the greater the impact. However, flooding rains can be produced by any tropical system – depression, storm or hurricane. If it is forecast to be too intense where you are, follow these guidelines.
If you need more information, use the links below from FEMA and NOAA to help prepare.
National Hurricane Center Tropical Updates
Follow these tips and you will handle Irma better than without. Also, share these tips with friends and family that are in the path of Irma. A more prepared country is a more resilient country.