According to the Weather Channel for the next couple days, Irma will move west-northwest on the south side of a ridge of high pressure called the Bermuda high, centered in the central Atlantic.
(INTERACTIVE MAP: Track Irma)
By this weekend, Irma will begin to turn north in the direction of a departing southward dip in the jet stream that has set up in the eastern United States. The location of that northward turn will dictate where the most severe impacts from Irma occur in Florida and the southeastern United States.
Confidence is growing that southern Florida will likely see severe hurricane conditions starting this weekend. Major impacts could then spread through the rest of the Florida Peninsula, Georgia and the Carolinas.
Here’s a general overview of the timing for impacts from Irma into next week.
Potential Impact Timing
- Turks and Caicos: Into Friday
- Bahamas: Friday-this weekend arriving from east to west; hurricane-force winds will spread into the central Bahamas by early Friday morning
- Cuba: Friday-this weekend arriving from east to west; hurricane-force winds may arrive by late Friday afternoon
- Florida: Saturday-Sunday; hurricane-force winds may arrive in South Florida and the Florida Keys by late Saturday.
- Georgia-Carolinas: Late Sunday-Monday
— NASA SPoRT (@NASA_SPoRT) September 7, 2017
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2017
Hurricane Irma is a Category 5 storm, and with wind speeds of up to 185 miles per hour, it is one of the strongest recorded hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. Irma has already left at least 10 people dead after hitting Barbuda, St. Martin, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, and other island nations in the northeastern Caribbean. But will Hurricane Irma hit Havana? The Cuban capital has not yet been placed under a hurricane watch, but the city’s residents have nonetheless flocked to supermarkets to purchase hurricane supplies.
According to the Miami Herald, Cuban forecasters are projecting that Irma will pass along the country’s northern coast on Friday night before making its way toward Florida. On Tuesday, Cuba’s National Civil Defense Staff launched its “informative phase of operations” to inform 11 provinces of Irma’s impending arrival and how to prepare. The provinces that received this information include Ciego de Ávila in the northeast, Matanzas in central Cuba, and Guantánamo in the east. Havana — which is located in western Cuba — is currently not under a hurricane watch, because the hurricane is expected to make landfall in the northeastern Ciego de Ávila province before skirting the coast.
On Wednesday, Cuba intensified its preparations ahead of Irma’s arrival. Initial forecasts seemed to indicate that Cuba would be spared a direct hit, but now that it is projected to sweep across the country’s northern coast, Cuba is storing crops, ensuring that its communications systems are functional, and cleaning the caves in which Cubans in rural areas are expected to seek shelter. The country is known for its thorough natural disaster preparedness, American University professor William Leogrande told the Herald.