GREENSBORO, NC (WFMY) -- Hurricane Irma is now one of the strongest hurricanes on record. The storm clocked 185 mph winds on Tuesday afternoon, the second highest ever seen in the Atlantic. The latest models on Wednesday morning showed Irma shifting slightly east.
4:40am - Overnight forecast models have generally shifted to the east...we'll have to watch if this trend continues. pic.twitter.com/Nr19wbzZDk— Terran Kirksey WFMY (@tkweather) September 6, 2017
In response the the eastward shifts in the track the past several model runs, the National Hurricane Center has moved their forecast cone a little to the east as well. If Irma tracks just east of Florida, the impacts in NC have the potential to be higher. Here's the latest track:
It's a Category 5, bearing down on the Caribbean islands as it continues to the west. Around 6 a.m. Wednesday, the island of Saint Barthélemy was in the eye of the Hurricane.
Hurricane Irma is very strong, and headed west. The storm became a Category 5 Tuesday morning and now has 185 MPH sustained winds. Some Caribbean Islands are on high alert as it heads their way. It will move across the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico Wednesday into Thursday. The Southeast U.S. can only watch nervously now as it heads closer late this week.
The latest numbers on Irma put the maximum winds at 185 mph with higher gusts, maintaining a WNW motion of about 15 mph.
Here's what we know. The storm will be on a constant west-northwest track through Saturday, which will take it to the Cuba/South Florida area. After that point, the forecast becomes far more uncertain.
All computer models forecast a turn to the north after the storm moves near Cuba. At that point, it should still be a very strong storm -- likely around a Category 4. The question is of course how sharp of a turn does it make, and what areas lie in its path as it chugs northward.
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South Florida needs to be on high alert for impacts as early as Saturday into Sunday with coastal areas of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina being on alert for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It is still too early to say exactly what impacts there will be in these areas -- it will all depend on the exact track.
Here in the Triad, our impacts will depend on the track as well. If the storm grazes the coast, our impacts will be low. If the storm tracks inland over North Carolina, we could see heavy rain and high winds. Again, that's still unclear at this time. The News 2 Weather Team will be tracking the system around the clock over the next week.
Now is the time to re-visit your family's hurricane plan. Make sure you know what you would do if the storm does indeed head your way. It's much easier to prepare well in advance of a storm rather than waiting until the last minute.
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