Major Hurricane Irma and Its Potential Future


Good evening! After the devastation and catastrophic flooding from Harvey meandering over South Texas and Southwest Louisiana over the past week, we were finally relieved to see that that storm has now moved out of the Western Gulf of Mexico region. Heavy rainfall will continue over the next few days over the Tennessee Valley from the remnants of Harvey, before it becomes absorbed into a frontal system developing over the Northeast. But as we approach the peak of hurricane season, more tropical threats are rising. One such threat is Hurricane Irma which is becoming a powerful hurricane already today.

Irma has been rapidly intensifying over very warm waters and a favorable atmospheric environment, since it became a tropical storm on Thursday. It is now a major Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds at 115mph. Irma will continue moving on a west-northwest path over the Eastern Atlantic over next few days. It will be moving over slightly cooler waters (still sufficient for maintenance at around 26 C) and some mid-level dry air from ridging, which might at times slow down the rate of intensification over the next 2-3 days.  But overall, an upper-level anti-cyclone will support low shear and more upper-level outflow over the hurricane. So Irma will likely continue to strengthen into a Category 4 by early next week.

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