The eye of Hurricane Irma has reached Key West. As of 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning, Irma had made landfall in Cudjoe Key as a Category 4 storm. The storm will be moving north as the day goes on, but it’s unclear if she will travel northeast, northwest, or due north. Whichever path Irma decides to take will mean very different things for the state of Florida.
If Irma travels due north, she will make landfall again in the Naples area, moving through the everglades causing her to slow down before she gets to the city of Tampa. If Irma makes a couple of jogs to the west, she could make landfall in Fort Meyers as a Category 4, weakening slightly as she gets to the Tampa area. If Irma travels a bit east, she would go more inland, bringing more severe weather to the Lakeland area and sparing Tampa Bay of the worst.
Now that the storm is upon Florida, the models are being watched less closely. Hurricane Irma seems to be doing her own thing as she moves closer to the mainland. What she does next may or may not line up with current models, so it’s important for Floridians to pay close attention to their local weather channels and to be prepared for the worst.
“Model data at this point is almost useless. (Some may argue it’s been useless for the past 5 days.) I wouldn’t argue with this, by the way. At this point, it’s all about tracking her motion as subtle minor changes could make significant differences in final landfall position,” Tampa-area meteorologist Denis Phillips said on Facebook late Saturday.
Below you can see the latest GFS model as of 10 a.m.
Below you can see the latest European model as of 2 a.m. Eastern. This will be updated again at 2 p.m.
Government officials have encouraged everyone in the hurricane warning areas to hunker down at this point; traveling (especially out of state or across the state) is highly discouraged.