Naples, Florida, is preparing for a possible hurricane this weekend, as Irma — a Category 5 — moves closer to the United States with each passing minute. Irma is circulating approximately 225 miles east of the Caribbean island of Antigua. She is moving west at 14 mph, which means that Naples will begin feeling the effects of the storm on Friday, with winds starting to pick up. The worst is expected to hit the area on Saturday and into Sunday.
Storm surges could reach 8 feet in Naples Bay and up to 23 feet in the Chokoloskee area, according to bureau of emergency services director Dan Summers. Naples is expected to see very strong winds regardless of whether or not Irma directly hits the city. Check out the expected sustained wind speed on the map below. As Irma moves toward Florida, the cone will also change and higher wind probabilities will move into the Naples area.
As far as rainfall totals go, this is also going to depend on the track that Irma decides to take. Places experiencing a direct hit from Irma could see upwards of 15″ of rain. Cities and towns on the outside of the hurricane will only see about 3″ to 5″ by the time the storm leaves the area.
The only thing that is certain at this time is that Irma will impact all of Florida. Governor Rick Scott issued a state of emergency for all counties on Monday, September 4. Over the next 24 to 48 hours, a more clear path for Irma should be known.
On Tuesday, Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk encouraged residents thinking about evacuating the area to do so now. There are many concerns of dead-stopped traffic and backed up highways due to people deciding to evacuate once the storm rolls into town.
“If you are planning to leave, please do it now. Do not wait,” Sheriff Rambosk said on Tuesday.