Hurricane Irma regains Category 5 status as it makes landfall in Cuba

Hurricane Irma: Irma remains a powerful hurricane, but for the first time on Irma’s path she has done something that the National Hurricane Center didn’t see coming: landfall in Cuba Friday evening.

Hurricane Irma Advisory Number 40 NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL AL112017 1100 PM EDT Fri Sep 08 2017 …IRMA MAKING LANDFALL ON THE CAMAGUEY ARCHIPELAGO OF CUBA AS A CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE… …HURRICANE WARNINGS EXTENDED NORTHWARD ALONG THE FLORIDA PENINSULA…

That is somewhat of a game-changer for the strength of the storm and for the ultimate path toward Florida.  It appears Florida’s west coast is in line for the more dangerous part of the storm, but there are now more kinks to work out in the forecast.

NHC Official Forecast

The NHC track heavily influences our forecast for early next week; however, we still believe the greatest threat here will be from ‘inconvenient’ weather and not severe weather.

INFORMATION FOR EVACUEES HEADING FOR ALABAMA VIA GOV. KAY IVEY

Track Irma and any associated rain and storms with WHNT.com’s Interactive Radar or swipe over to the radar feature on Live Alert 19!

Don’t travel into Florida east of Tallahassee.  This will not have a dramatic impact on the ‘Panhandle’ or Alabama.  In fact, you can carry on with vacation plans if they take you to Panama City, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Pensacola, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Mobile, Biloxi or New Orleans this weekend and next week.  Be watchful; a slight shift in the track could bring some rain and wind as far west as Pensacola.

Irma’s impact in Alabama? By the time Irma’s remnants get to Alabama, the storm likely spins down to Tropical Depression status: maximum sustained winds around 30-40 miles per hour with some occasionally-higher gusts.

The National Hurricane Center’s track:  There’s a lot of anxiety about being “in the cone” now.  Honestly, the weather forecast has not changed significantly in the past 36 hours, but the NHC track has gradually shifted closer and closer to North Alabama and Middle Tennessee.

The line will likely still shift back and forth a little, but as long as we remain near and west of the center, our worst problems are more of an inconvenience (windy, wet weather) than a major weather threat.