UPDATE: Ireland, UK brace for impact of Hurricane Ophelia

11 P.M. UPDATE: Ophelia is now a post-tropical storm but is still expected to bring strong winds to Ireland and the United Kingdom on Monday, the National Hurricane Center said in its final advisory on the system.

It was still packing 85-mph winds as it sped north at 44 mph. It’s expected to dissipate near western
Norway by Tuesday night.

5 P.M. UPDATE: The remnants of Hurricane Ophelia could bring wind gusts of 80 mph, disruption and damage to Ireland and Britain as the work week gets underway, weather services said today.

Ophelia remains a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph as it speeds north-northeast across the Atlantic at 38 mph, according to the 5 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The next advisory will be at 11 p.m.

This satellite image released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Ophelia on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. The remnants of Ophelia could bring 80 mile an hour (130 kilometer an hour) wind gusts, disruption and damage to Ireland and Britain as the work week gets underway, weather services said Sunday. (NOAA via AP)

Ophelia is expected to be downgraded to a post-tropical storm before making landfall in southern Ireland on Monday morning, but U.K. Met Office forecaster Luke Miall told the Associated Press that it could still pack “hurricane force” winds.

Ireland’s Met Eireann weather service said the country’s southern and western counties could get gusts of up to 80 mph (130 kph) along with heavy rain and storm surges.

This satellite image released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Ophelia on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.

The hurricane center said the storm could bring two to three inches of rain in western Ireland and Scotland, with coastal flooding and “large and destructive waves” where it makes landfall.

Emergency officials in Ireland said schools would be closed Monday in the eight counties expected to see the strongest winds and under a red weather alert, the highest level. Cyclists and motorists were warned to stay off the roads during the height of the storm.

Dublin and Shannon airports advised passengers to check flight information before travelling, while Cork airport in southwest Ireland said cancellations were likely.

Britain’s Met Office said 80-mph gusts could hit Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K., and warned of potential power cuts, flying debris and disruption to transport and phone signals. Strong winds could also hit Scotland, Wales and England.

PREVIOUS UPDATE:

SOURCE: National Hurricane Center

Hurricane Ophelia is now a category 2 hurricane as it continues to head north-northeast toward Ireland. It’s expected to make landfall by tomorrow morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of the 11 a.m. forecast, it was moving at 38 miles per hour.

 

Maximum sustained winds are near 90 mph with higher gusts. Ophelia is expected to weaken, but should maintain hurricane force winds until it reaches Ireland.

Hurricane-force winds now extend outward up to 45 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles.

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Hurricane Maria weakens to strong Cat 4 as it makes landfall in Puerto Rico

 

5 a.m. UPDATE: Hurricane Maria has weakened to a strong Category 4 storm with 155 mph sustained winds, and is moving northwest at 10 mph.

Check The Palm Beach Post’s storm tracking map. 

Maria’s eye is expected to make landfall in Puerto Rico in a couple hours, and will pass just north of the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic tonight and Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane force winds extend outward about 60 miles from Maria’s center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward about 150 miles.

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Florida remains safe from Maria’s projected path, with the storm staying far east of the state’s coast.

UPDATE: Irma’s top winds increase to 140 mph

UPDATE, 11 p.m.: As of the 11 p.m. Monday advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Irma was a 140-mph Category 4 hurricane 410 miles east of the Leeward Islands.

But, more important for South Florida, the official 5-day forecast for Irma has Palm Beach County inside the target area for where the storm’s center may eventually go.

As of 11 p.m., the chance for tropical-storm-force winds in West Palm Beach through 8 p.m. Saturday was 40 percent, and the chance for hurricane-force winds was 7 percent.

The official forecast is for it to strengthen to 150 mph – still a Cat 4 – as it reaches the islands late tonight or early Wednesday. Irma could fluctuate in strength during the next several days depending on how much land it touches on its westward journey.

Update, 8 p.m.: Irma’s top sustained winds have increased to 140 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Gov. Scott declares state of emergency as state prepares for potentially powerful storm

Update 5:15 p.m.: Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency to prepare for Hurricane Irma.

The state of emergency covers all 67 counties to ensure that “local governments have ample time, resources and flexibility to get prepared for this dangerous storm.”

Update 5 p.m.: Hurricane Irma has strengthened to a Category 4 storm with 130 mph winds, according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

The storm is now expected to top out with 150 mph winds over the next 24 hours, which would keep it at the high end of a Category 4 hurricane.

Forecasters said Irma remains “an impressive hurricane in satellite imagery.”

The five-day storm track has shifted the hurricane to the west and now has parts of South Florida in the cone of concern.

While there is a large margin of error beyond five days out, forecasters still urged preparation today with the possibility of tropical storm force winds beginning in South Florida later this week.

As of the 5 p.m. advisory, Irma was 490 miles east of the Leeward Islands and moving west at 13 mph.

Storm surge of between 1 to 6 feet is expected in the Leeward Islands with between 3 to 6 inches of rain and isolated amounts of up to 10 inches possible.

Update 2 p.m.: Hurricane Irma remains a major Category 3 storm with 120 mph winds as it treks west-southwest at 14 mph.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are urging South Floridians to prepare for the storm and consider getting shutters or plywood up by Friday.

The center is giving South Florida between a 5 and 30 percent chance of feeling tropical storm-force winds during the day Friday.

Related: Everything you need for hurricane preparation is on The Post’s Storm 2017 page. 

“Everyone should understand there is a good chance that we will see the onset of tropical storm-force winds on Friday, and I want to convey that you should make sure your hurricane plan and all prep are done by Friday,” said Dave Roberts, a hurricane specialist at the NHC. “That’s what I’m doing because you don’t want to be putting your shutters on in deteriorating conditions.”

In response to Irma’s project path and strength, the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center has moved its alert level from a level 4 –  normal – to a level 3, which is enhanced monitoring.

Monroe County activated its incident Command Team in response to Irma’s approach.

Irma could reach a Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds within 48 hours.

As of 2 p.m., Irma was 530 miles east of the Leeward Islands. A hurricane warning was in effect for Antiqua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, and Saint Maartin.

Related: Four hurricane graphics you should know before June 1.

A hurricane watch is in effect for British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra.

While forecasts further than five days out have large margins of error, hurricane experts said there is an increasing chance of seeing some impacts from Irma in Florida.

Depending on when Irma makes a right turn toward the north, it could be a Hurricane Matthew-like storm that skims the east coast of the state, or if it moves further west, it could move through the center of the state, forcing evacuations from the Keys this week.

Dan Kottlowski, a hurricane expert with the Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather, said an upper-level low pressure system will be the trigger that pushes Irma to make the move north early or later.

“The latest model trends have had it tracking toward the southern part of the peninsula on Sunday,” Kottlowski said. “I would say this much, people in Florida should certainly have their hurricane plan in place, and that includes knowing whether you are in an evacuation zone and, if so, where you will go.”

Update 11 a.m.: Hurricane Irma is expected to strengthen to a category 4 storm in the next 24 hours and maintain that power for the next five days, the National Hurricane Center said at its late morning update.

That curve that would turn Irma north and out to sea before striking Florida remains absent from the National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. update.

Instead the forecast path has flattened even further since the center’s 8 a.m. update, taking the storm closer to Cuba’s north shore by Saturday morning, but that cone of possibility is wide.

The forecasters continue to expect Irma to turn north likely Tuesday, but it is too soon to tell if, when and where the storm will make landfall in the continental U.S.

Not only is a high pressure system in the Atlantic in play, but so too is a weather trough over the eastern U.S.  How and when they move will influence Irma’s path.

For now, Hurricane Irma is a category 3 storm that is churning about 560 miles east of the Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph. It is moving west-southwest at 14 mph.

In more immediate danger are the islands in Irma’s path.

“Irma could directly affect the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as a dangerous major hurricane later this week. Hurricane watches have been issued for these areas, and tropical-storm-force winds could arrive in these areas by early Wednesday,” according to the forecast discussion.

 

 

Original post: That curve to the north – and eventually out into the Atlantic –  that everyone in South Florida was hoping to see Hurricane Irma take isn’t happening as quickly as earlier models had predicted. The National Hurricane Center’s 8 a.m. update Monday drives the storm’s path in a flatter, westbound path that puts it closer Cuba’s shores by early Saturday morning.

RELATED: Find hurricane shopping lists, tracking maps and more at The Post’s storm page

It is still too early to tell if, when and where Irma will strike the U.S. coast.

Hurricane Irma remains a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph as it spins about 610 miles east of the Leeward Islands. It is moving west southwest at 14 mph.

STORMS: The Palm Beach Post’s hurricane page has everything you need to know for storm season

Forecasters say the high pressure system over the central Atlantic is what is making it increasingly likely that Irma will stay on this flatter west-northwest path three to five days from now, keeping the storm from turning north earlier.

Hurricane Harvey: Could a similar storm happen in South Florida?

The hurricane center is due to issue an update on Irma’s intensity in the next few hours, but the storm is expected to maintain intensity over the next five days, if not strengthen.

UPDATE: Hurricane Irma strengthens, heads west across Atlantic

11 p.m. UPDATE: Hurricane Irma continues to head west with 110 mph winds. The National Hurricane Center places the storm about 1,030 miles east of the Leeward Islands.

5 p.m. UPDATE: Hurricane Irma steamed stubbornly westward as a strong Category 2 hurricane Wednesday about 1,135 miles east of the Leeward Islands, leaving many in Florida trying to enjoy a holiday weekend while taking nervous glances at the elephant on the forecast map.

“At this point we’re telling people enjoy your Labor Day Weekend,” said Andrew Hagen, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami.  “But at some point, parts of the East Coast are going to need to monitor it closely.”

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, top winds were near 110 mph as it moved west at 15 mph.

Its is still expected to strengthen to a Category 3 or 4 storm by Wednesday with its projected track bending north, forecasters said.

A big question is what lies beyond its five-day cone — a gradual sweeping right turn into the Atlantic Ocean or an uncomfortable route toward the U.S. coastline.

“It’s too early to know,” Hagen said.

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Continue reading “UPDATE: Hurricane Irma strengthens, heads west across Atlantic”

UPDATE: Harvey now a tropical wave, Florida in path of weak system

11 p.m. UPDATE: Former Tropical Storm Harvey has degenerated into a tropical wave as it moves quickly toward the west near 22 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 p.m. advisory. Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph.

No additional advisories will be issued unless regeneration occurs or if tropical cyclone watches or warnings are required for land areas. The remnants are expected to move westward across the central Caribbean Sea on Sunday and across the western Caribbean Sea toward Central America on Monday.

Tropical Weather Outlook

8 p.m. UPDATE: Tropical Storm Harvey has weakened to a depression as it speeds west through the Caribbean at 22 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 5 p.m. advisory.

At 5 p.m., Harvey’s center was about 225 miles north-northwest of Curacao with top sustained winds around 35 mph. Some slow strengthening is possible during the next couple of days, and Harvey could regain tropical storm status Sunday.

A turn toward the west-northwest is expected Sunday night or Monday. On the current track, the center of Harvey will move across the central and western Caribbean Sea through Monday. The next advisory will be issued at 11 p.m.

Meanwhile, showers and thunderstorms remain disorganized near a trough of low pressure a couple of hundred miles north of the northern Leeward Islands, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. There’s now a 20 percent chance of development, down from 30 percent at 2 p.m.

Environmental conditions are not expected to be conducive for development during the next couple days while it moves west-northwest at 15 to 20 mph. It still could develop as it nears the northern Bahamas or Florida around the middle of next week. The next tropical outlook will be at 2 a.m.

Tropical Weather Outlook

2 p.m. UPDATE: The low pressure system about 250 miles north-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands continues to produce disorganized showers and thunderstorms, but its chance of development over the next five days has been lowered to 30 percent. The system is moving west-northwestward at about 20 mph, and it could become more organized early next week when it nears the Bahamas. The next tropical outlook will be at 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, Harvey is hanging on to tropical storm status as it loses its organization and heads west through the central and western Caribbean Sea. Maximum sustained winds are 40 mph as it speeds along at 22 mph. Watches may be required later today for portions of northern Nicaragua, northern Honduras, Belize, and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The next advisory from the National Weather Service will be issued at 5 p.m.

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BREAKING: 60% chance of tropical development in Atlantic

BREAKING: 60% chance of tropical development in Atlantic

A broad area of low pressure hovering in the Atlantic about 650 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands off the coast of Africa is showing signs of development as it moves westward.

Though there’s just a 10 percent chance of development in the next 48 hours, there’s now a 60 percent chance of tropical formation in the next 5 days, according to the National Hurricane Center’s outlook issued at 8 p.m. That’s up from 50 percent earlier in the day.

Shower and thunderstorm activity is disorganized, according the the hurricane center, but environmental conditions are expected to become more favorable for some development of the system later this week.

The disturbance is moving westward at 5 to 10 mph.

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Breaking: CSU releases 2017 hurricane forecast

Colorado State University released its annual hurricane season forecast this morning during the National Tropical Weather Conference in San Antonio.

The forecast, written by storm experts Phil Klotzbach and Michael Bell, calls for a slightly below average season in the Atlantic basin as the possibility of weak to moderate El Nino conditions build.

Related: 10 things to know about El Nino

Hurricane Jeanne hits Florida on Sept. 25, 2004

With that climate pattern in mind, CSU is forecasting 11 named storms, 4 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher. Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November.

Check out The Palm Beach Post storm tracking map.

“As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them,” the report notes. “They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”

In 2016, CSU’s April forecast called for 13 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes with sustained winds of 111 mph or more. By the end of November, there were 15 named storms, and seven hurricanes.

A normal hurricane season has 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes.

The report also outlines the chances that at least one major hurricane will make landfall in the U.S.

  • For the entire U.S. coastline, the chances of a Category 3, 4 or 5 storm making landfall are 42 percent. The average for the past century was 52 percent.
  • For the U.S. East Coast, including the Florida peninsula, the chances of a major hurricane landfall are 24 percent. The average for the past century is 31 percent.
  • For the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle to Brownsville, the chances are 24 percent. The average for the past century is 30 percent.

“Everyone should realize that it is impossible to precisely predict this season’s hurricane activity in early April,” the CSU report says. “There is, however, much curiosity as to how global ocean and atmosphere features are presently arranged as regards to the probability of an active or inactive hurricane season for the coming year.”

AccuWeather released its 2017 hurricane forecast Wednesday, also predicting a below average season based on the El Nino prediction.

El Nino creates stronger westerly winds that can work to shred hurricanes in the Atlantic during storm season.

Related: Will a hurricane be named after you this season?

The Pennsylvania-based company is forecasting 10 named storms, including five hurricanes and three major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher.

“The big factor is going to be the fact that we now believe El Niño will come on board some time during the summer and will continue all the way through the rest of the hurricane season,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said.

Just in: Will a hurricane be named after you this season? 2017 storm names are here

The National Hurricane Center sent around a reminder this month with 2017’s hurricane names and pronunciation guide.


And while storm season doesn’t start until June 1, if you’re on the list you may want to start preparing for the possibility that a hurricane with your name on it may form up this year.

Hurricane Harvey has a ring to it, but it may be hard to hunker down for a Hurricane Irma or Gert.

Hurricanes get monikers based on their basin, and names that are familiar in the region. 

Hurricane names are selected by the World Meteorological Organization and are usually common names associated with the ethnicity of the basin that would be affected by the storms.

“For example, in the Atlantic basin, the majority of storms have English names, but there are also a number of Hispanic-origin names as well as a few French names,” said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen during an interview about 2015’s Hurricane Henri. “For the eastern North Pacific basin, the majority of names are of Hispanic origin, as the impacted countries are Mexico, Guatemala, and other nations of Central America.”

There are six lists in rotation, which are maintained and updated by the World Meteorological Organization.

A name can be removed from the list if a storm hits and is particularly deadly or costly.

For example, there will not be another Hurricane Andrew, after the devastating 1992 Category 5 storm. And the 2004 and 2005 seasons saw a whole slew of names retired from the list including, Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma.

Hurricane Joaquin is also off the list. No names have been removed from the 2016 season yet. 

Hurricane season runs through the end of November.