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Irma Heading to Florida & Dry KC

Good Saturday,

We continue to track powerful hurricane Irma.  We will have the latest on Irma and end with a look the forecast for KC.

The tropics remain active and Irma’s friend Katia is history as she moved into Mexico last night.  We still have Jose and Irma, both category 4 hurricanes. Jose is now turning north into the Atlantic and will just graze the islands devastated by Irma.

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Irma was interacting with a mountainous Cuba and so she weakened to a minimal category 4, still quite strong.  As of 8 AM she had 130 mph winds and was still paralleling the north Cuba coast. The eye was not as defined.

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The outer bands early Saturday morning were already affecting the south part of Florida.  You can see the eye on the north coast of Cuba.

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This is an interesting view of the track of Irma with the city lights at 4 AM Sunday.  Gary showed this on Friday and you can see the lack of lights in southwest Florida, which means much less population than around Miami.  So, this western track is good news over a more eastern track, as it will have the biggest impact over the much lower populated locations of Florida.

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Let’s track Irma through the wind forecast as this will be the biggest issue as opposed to Harvey where rain was the biggest problem.  Now, that being said, there will be flooding with Irma and a storm surge issue, but at least she will not stall.

SATURDAY 4 PM: You can see the eye still in northern Cuba with 90-125 mph winds on the northern eye wall.  The interaction with Cuba took Irma down a notch.

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SUNDAY 6 AM: Tonight Irma will be crossing the near 90° water between Cuba and Key West, so strengthening is likely.  The east eye wall will have 125-160 mph winds.  You can see the eye in blue, where winds are 5-15 mph.

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SUNDAY 3 PM: The eye will likely still be offshore, so it will remain quite strong with 125-160 mph winds in extreme southwest Florida with 90-125 mph winds elsewhere. You can see locations from Fort Lauderdale to Hollywood to Miami will see winds of 50-80 mph which is good news for these huge population centers.  Now, there will still be major impacts on the eastern side of Florida, but 50-80 mph winds are much better than 125 mph+.

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SUNDAY 6 PM: The eye is forecast to be near Naples.  Hopefully, Irma will be on shore so she can weaken.  If she tracks a bit farther west and remains over the water, Irma will weaken much slower.  The eye wall will be impacting Fort Myers as the 50-80 mph winds continue on the east coast.  The 125-160 mph winds will disappear.

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SUNDAY 9 PM: The eye may be near Fort Myers with the 90-125 mph winds shifting north and shrinking with 50-80 mph winds continuing on the east coast, but shifting north of Fort Lauderdale.  If the eye is off shore, then this will be different and Irma could be much stronger.

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MONDAY 10 AM: Irma will likely be in northern Florida with the eye near Gainesville.  Winds will be down as Irma will be a cat 1 or a tropical storm.  Now, this assumes mostly a land path.  Any farther west and a more offshore path could change the equation.

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TUESDAY 4 PM: Irma will be in the Tennessee Valley and the cloud shield will be huge.  It will be so huge that here in KC we may see the cirrus clouds from Irma.  We will not see any rain.

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So, in summary, Irma has weakened due to overnight interaction with Cuba. She will turn north tonight and strengthen as she moves over 90° waters between Cuba and Key West.  The track will be near the west coast of Florida which is good news for Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Miami.  Naples, Fort Myers and Tampa will have much bigger impacts.  It will be worse if Irma travels north offshore.  This is still a question.

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KC WEATHER:

After the wettest August in recorded history, we have not seen a drop of rain in the first 10 days of September.  So, all of a sudden, we could use a drink of water.

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There is a small system in Nebraska bringing scattered showers and thunderstorms.  We will see some clouds from this system as it drops south over the weekend, but the rain will dissipate.  We do not have any rain in the forecast for the next 7 days.  The pattern may get more active after the 17th.

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Highs today and for that matter the next 7 days will be 80° to 85° with lows in the 50s and 60s.

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Have a great weekend.

Jeff Penner

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