Friday, Sept. 8, 2017
Irma down to a strong Category 4
Worst-case scenario coming into focus
At this point, it is mostly a case of waiting and waiting. Forecast models have converged into a pretty strong consensus. The only lingering question is how strong she’ll be at landfall?
After mostly giving up on the west coast (of Florida) solution on Wednesday, the models came roaring back yesterday. Today, most of the holdouts have joined the chorus. Irma will hit land over southwestern Florida Sunday morning and continue slowly north over the state for at least 24 hours. Of the various ideas suggested by the models this week, that’s the “worst case scenario.” And, now that’s the solution that seems to be most likely.
We can now be pretty confident as to the where and when of landfall, but the strength remains a question. NHC has it still with winds of 145 mph at landfall. I feel that estimate is too high because from now until landfall its circulation will be affected by land masses. That will disrupt the storm enough to weaken its winds by at least 10-15 mph. That’s the low end of Cat 4, but Cat 3 is still a possibility. Even with reduced winds, this storm is very bad news for Florida.