Hurricane Irma continues to weaken today after landing on Friday night on the north coast of Cuba, although it remains classified as category 4, after its winds passed in the last hours of 155 miles per hour to 133, reported today National Hurricane Center (NHC).
At 0800 local time (1200 GMT), Irma’s eye was located 135 kilometers east of Caibarién (Cuba) and 440 south-southeast of Miami and was advancing at a speed of 19 kilometers per hour in a westerly direction.
According to the latest bulletin from the US National Center for Hurricanes (NHC), based in Miami, Irma could turn northwest by the end of today.
In this way, the eye of the hurricane would move near the north coast of Cuba throughout the day, it would reach the Florida Keys on Sunday morning and then the southwest coast of this peninsula on Sunday afternoon.
Irma, the most powerful hurricane recorded in the Atlantic, has left at least 18 dead as it passes through the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico and has destroyed the island of Barbuda and the French part of San Martin.
The “interaction” produced on land in Cuba has “weakened the hurricane a little” and sustained maximum winds have declined to near 133 mph, with higher bursts, the NHC notes.
Once away from Cuba, Irma will remain a “mighty hurricane” as she approaches Florida, which has been preparing for the clash of the most powerful cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic.
Hurricane force winds extend from its center to 68 miles and tropical storm winds (up to a maximum of 73 mph) sit about two hundred miles from the center of Irma.
These winds and the atmospheric pressure generated by Irma can cause sea level rise in southeastern Florida from Captiva to Cape Sable, 2.4 to 3.6 meters high. Further north, the city of Venice would be 1.5 to 2.4 and Tampa to 1.5.
On the east coast, from Cape Sable to Boca Raton, including the Florida Keys and Miami, sea levels could rise by as much as 1.5m to 3m, dropping 0.6m to 1.2m from Boca Raton to county of Volusia.
In addition, the combination of “large and destructive” waves and strong storm surge may cause sea level to rise from 1.5 to 3 meters in the alert zone of the north coast of Cuba and up to 6.1 meters on Ragged Island in the Bahamas, while the central and northwestern islands of this archipelago could do so up to 2 meters.
The NHC predicts that rain storms by next Tuesday night will be 254 to 381 millimeters in northern Cuba, with isolated areas of up to 508. For the south of the island the figures fall from 127 to 254 millimeters, although they could cases of up to 381 millimeters.
In the westernmost islands of the Bahamas they could fall to 152 millimeters, and in the Florida Keys from 254 to 508, with isolated cases of up to 635 millimeters.
For the Florida peninsula and southeastern Georgia state rainfall totaling 203 to 381, to a maximum of 508 millimeters.
In these areas, they warn, there could be fatal floods, floods and landslides, which should be added to possible tornadoes today in South Florida.
Irma has left at least 18 dead while passing through the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico and has caused serious damage on the island of Barbuda and the French part of San Martin.