Irma Now Barely A Hurricane
I spoke with a meteorologist friend in the Tampa Bay area late last week. He was looking forward to Irma moving on. It does appear as though Hurricane Irma is doing just that. However, we all know the real story of a landfalling tropical system unfolds after the storm has passed.
Here's the good news. As of the 4 AM advisory from the National Hurricane Center, the storm is barely maintaining hurricane status. While that's certainly better than a category five storm it's still a powerful force of nature that is capable of creating more damage and threat to life.
The center of Irma at 4 AM CDT was about 60 miles north of Tampa. You can see the circulation on the National Weather Service radar out of Tampa. The maximum sustained winds were clocked at 75 mph. The storm is expected to weaken throughout the day as it moves to the north northwest at 18 mph.
The official track forecast from the National Hurricane Center will bring the center of circulation across the Florida Georgia line later today. From there, the system is expected to move diagonally across Alabama to the north west.
Eventually, the system will merge with another weather system and be swept off the eastern seaboard later this week. This will end an almost two-week odyssey of an area of thunderstorms that rolled off the coast of Africa, crossed the Atlantic, caused loss of life and billions in property damage only to be returned to the ocean from whence it came.