Hurricane Irma May Want To Move North Along Florida's East Coast
Irma is still a powerful, category 5 hurricane with sustained wind up to 185 mph! The eyewall is now visible from the San Juan, Puerto Rico radar (see image above). From NHC: "The eye of Irma passed over Barbuda, St. Barthelemy, and St. Martin this morning, and will be moving over portions of the British and U.S. Virgin Islands shortly. A NOAA National Ocean Service observing site on Barbuda measured sustained winds of 103 kt with a gust to 135 kt earlier this morning before the anemometer failed. The station also reported a minimum pressure of 916.1 mb. A minimum pressure of 915.9 mb was reported on St. Barthelemy." A map of the NHC's forecast for Irma along with current watches and warnings is pictured below. The latest NHC public advisory is available here.
All along, the ECMWF has been forecasting Irma to track slightly further to the west than the GFS model has, after she curves north. That is still the case today, however the operation runs of both models are now forecasting the center of the storm to track up along the east coast of Florida during September 10th/11th, then make landfall in or near South Carolina. The GFS has that landfall by early afternoon on the 11th, however the ECMWF model holds it off until that night. The details of the forecast track may still change, and need to be updated, so this is certainly not in stone, however you can see that it is reflected in the official NHC track above. Keep in mind the "cone of uncertainty", represented by the white line in the graphic above. That represents the margin of error of this forecast. The current forecast track keeps the center north of Cuba (mostly over water) so although there will probably be some weakening by the time the storm reaches the U.S., there is still a good chance that it will be a major hurricane (cat 3 or higher) when it does.
GFS Operation Forecast 8 AM Sunday:
GFS Operational Forecast 2 PM Monday:
ECMWF Operational Forecast 8 AM Sunday: