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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Hurricane Irma path MAPPED: Where is Hurricane Irma NOW? Could Irma hit the USA?

Hurricane Harvey flood victims in Houston and other flood-hit areas along the Gulf Coast are alarmed to see that another
hurricane is gaining power over the Atlantic.

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) has forecasted that Irma will become an "extremely dangerous" category 4 east of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean next week.  

Although the storm track shows that Irma is still heading towards the Caribbean, some Americans fear it could turn towards the USA. 

At 10 am CDT, the hurricane was located about 1,680 miles (2,680km) east from the Leeward Islands as it moves further away from West Africa. 

The latest update from the NHC said that Irma is forecast to remain a ‘powerful hurricane’ for days. 

And the hurricane could even be upgraded to Category 5 after one meteorologist said: "Hurricane #Irma regaining strength after going through an eyewall replacement #tropics"

At the time, Irma had maximum sustained winds near 110 mph (175 km/h), just below the 130 mph (209 km/h) threshold for category 4. 

In a discussion statement, NHC forecaster Eric Blake said Irma will turn westward later today and then move west-southwestward through the weekend.  

He said: “An upper-level low will be dropping southward on the east side of that high, and should be a key feature to how far south Irma goes before eventually turning westward and west-northwestward early next week.” 

In an earlier statement, NHC Forecaster David Zelinsky has said that there is uncertainty over where Hurricane Irma will go after the weekend. 

He said: “For example, the GFS shows a somewhat weaker Irma and a weaker ridge, forcing the hurricane to move slower and make a sharper turn back toward the west-northwest. 

He said that a number of weather models, such as the ECMWF, have more southern possible tracks and others, including the Met Office, have more northern ones. 

He added: “Since Irma is forecast to be a vertically deep cyclone, it seems more likely to respond to the northerly flow from the upper-level low, which leads me to believe the track will be on the southern side of the guidance.” 

“On the other hand, the ECMWF and HWRF depict a stronger ridge and a stronger hurricane on a more southern track.” 

The latest Met Office storm track shows that Irma could near the Caribbean and start to curve towards the USA by Thursday September 7. 

A Met Office spokesman said that point of the track was hugely uncertain because it is still a “very long” time away in terms of forecasts.  

“It should be taken with a pinch of salt,” he said. “Current predictions are that it will move westwards. There is uncertainty over the track of it at the moment.”

Long-range ECMWF and GEFS spaghetti models have shown that Hurricane Irma could curve round and hit somewhere along the coast of the US. 

Ag meteorologist Michael Clark tweeted: “Folks on SE coast need to keep a very close eye on #Irma as it has potential to be a very strong hurricane. EPS members show landfall.” 

Irma became the ninth named Atlantic storm of the season on Wednesday. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect at present.

Meteorologist Danielle Banks, from The Weather Channel, said: “Keep in mind that it is a way to soon to say if it's going to impact the United States, and where it will head. 

“We’re gonna be way past Labour Day before it treks across the Atlantic Ocean but you can see we need to monitor this for sections of Leeward Islands and also the northeastern Caribbean.” 

AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said: "All interests in the eastern Caribbean will need to monitor the progress of this evolving tropical cyclone, especially next week.

"It is way too soon to say with certainty where and if this system will impact the US.”

But despite the certainty, many meteorologists on social media suggested a mainland strike is likely.

Ryan Maue tweeted: "3 clusters of spaghetti from GEFS for Hurricane #Irma ... unfortunately, 2 of the 3 have U.S. impacts."

While Ben Vallee warned the hurricane has a lot of power behind it as it approaches the US, suggesting a mainland strike is a possibility.

He tweeted: "Plenty of fuel for #Irma to remain a powerful major hurricane as it approaches the Caribbean and possibly North America. #tropics

Kirk Hinz said: "New Euro OP bringing a Category 5 major hurricane too close to #Florida...confidence low on exact track, monitor this closely #Irma #FLwx"

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