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US Hurricane Irma: Floridians watch and wait as the storm is projected to strengthen

05:31  04 september  2017
05:31  04 september  2017 Source:   msn.com

Tropical Storm Irma To Hit Atlantic: Will US Be Affected?

  Tropical Storm Irma To Hit Atlantic: Will US Be Affected? <p>Tropical Storm Irma is expected to hit the Atlantic Ocean later this week.</p>Tropical Storm Irma is expected to hit the Atlantic Ocean later this week. The National Weather Service (NWS) reported Wednesday that the storm is developing in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. There's a strong likelihood that the storm will form into the fourth hurricane that has affected civilians this season.

80418- hurricane - irma - floridians - watch - and - wait - as - the - storm - is - projected - to - strengthen /. Caribbean islands put under hurricane watch as Irma strengthens - www.miamiherald.com. Hurricane Irma ’s projected path as of 5 p.m. Sunday.

Category 4 Hurricane Irma continues to track toward Florida and the state is bracing for a direct hit. The 5 p.m. advisory projects that the storm will strengthen back to Category 5 as it hits the Florida Keys. Some drivers waited for hours at gas stations, some of which ran out of fuel.

Satellite image of Tropical Storm Irma pictured here in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean on August 30, 2017.© NASA/NOAA /Goddard Rapid Response Team/Handout via REUTERS Satellite image of Tropical Storm Irma pictured here in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean on August 30, 2017. As a powerful hurricane moves across the Atlantic and toward the U.S. mainland, forecasters say it's still too early to know if Central Florida will be affected.

Farther east in the Atlantic, though, hurricane watches are in effect for nearly a dozen Caribbean islands as Irma continues its westward track as a Category 3 storm.

"It looks ominous when you're looking at a map and see the storm heading this way, but it's a long way out and things could change," said Brooks Tomlin, a meteorologist at Orlando Sentinel news partner Fox 35. " The earliest effects on Florida, if we see any, will probably be next weekend."

Puerto Rico declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Irma

  Puerto Rico declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Irma Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló on Monday declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard in preparation for the landfall of Irma, a dangerous Category 3 hurricane. "Despite the economic challenges Puerto Rico is facing, the approved budget has $15 million for the emergency fund," Rosselló said in a statement.Irma, which is forecast to strengthen on Tuesday night, is set hit the U.S. territory on Wednesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

While current projects show the storm hitting Miami and then going up the state's east coast towards Florida, Scott said that all Floridians needed to Tourists wait with their luggage as they prepare to leave in advance of Hurricane Irma during a mandatory evacuation in Miami Beach, Florida on Friday.

Rick Scott is urging Floridians to be "patient" and not quickly rush back to their homes once Irma passes. Hurricane Irma 's winds have slowed slightly while it rakes Cuba, but the massive storm is expected to strengthen again as it approaches Florida.

Forecasters say the storm will strengthen, possibly into a Category 4, as it moves toward the Leeward Islands. Moving at 14 mph, the hurricane was 790 miles east of the Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds measured at 115 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday.

Hurricane watches are in effect for 11 islands, but forecasters say that additional watches might be placed in the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the remainder of the Leeward Islands.

The U.S. Coast Guard said Sunday they were monitoring the storm and ports in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were still open - but urged those in the area to be prepared.

National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Kelly said the Leeward Islands could feel tropical storm force winds Tuesday.

States of emergency declared in Caribbean, Florida ahead of 'extremely dangerous' Hurricane Irma

  States of emergency declared in Caribbean, Florida ahead of 'extremely dangerous' Hurricane Irma <p>Preparations are well underway in the Caribbean Islands and the United States as extremely dangerous Hurricane Irma churns closer to land.</p>The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Irma became a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 175 mph shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5.

The storm is a Category 3, but is expected to strengthen , the National Hurricane Center said. Another 700,000 Floridians told to leave ahead of Irma . Hurricane Irma ’s rains and wind gusts have arrived in South Florida, but the storm is projected to grow much worse later in the day.

Hurricane Irma has strengthened to a Category 5 storm , and catastrophic damage is possible in the Florida Keys and southern Florida this weekend as a second storm has formed Scott said Tuesday that it is important that Floridians keep a close eye on the storm and "do not sit and wait to prepare."

Forecasters project the storm to strengthen some over the next two days, though it could slow down tonight in its trek across the Atlantic.

Come Monday, forecasters say it could tick slightly west.

Tomlin said along with the storm forecasted to strengthen, it's also growing in size.

Hurricane-force winds extend 35 miles from the hurricane's center and tropical-storm-force winds stretch as far as 140 miles, which has doubled in the last 24 hours, Tomlin said.

Kelly cautioned that it's still too soon to know what, if any, effects Hurricane Irma could have on Florida.

"It will be a couple of days before we have enough confidence to talk about possible impacts to Florida," Kelly said.

And the accuracy of models could improve over the next few days as hurricane hunter aircraft ventured into the hurricane for the first time Sunday.

This allows meteorologists to collect valuable insights into a storm's structure, wind speeds and barometric pressure, Kelly said.

That data will then be input into the projection model to better improve the tracks.

Another aircraft is expected to fly into the storm Monday, which will "add more credibility" to the possible tracks, Kelly said.

Within the next 48 hours, the storm's "uncertainty cone" showing its projected path could include Florida, Tomlin said.

Tomlin said it's always a good idea to be prepared in case Florida does end up feeling Irma's wrath.

"Now is the time to check your supplies and making sure you have a plan in place for yourself, family and your pets," he said. "You need to be prepared."

rygillespie@orlandosentinel.com; chayes@orlandosentinel.com

White House shares, deletes Hurricane Irma video .
White House social media director Dan Scavino shared and then deleted an apparently inaccurate video of Hurricane Irma on Sunday, as the storm continues to carry whipping winds and surging storms across the state of Florida."Sharing [Hurricane Irma] on social media with [President Trump] and [Vice President Pence] hourly. Here is Miami International Airport. STAY SAFE!!" he tweeted.

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