The first big wave of Hurricane Irma is expected to hit Florida on Thursday, bringing a heavy winter storm surge.
In the state of Florida, the National Weather Service issued a hurricane watch on Friday for parts of the Atlantic coast and the Miami-Dade County area, which includes the Miami International Airport, as well as the city of Palm Beach.
The watch also extends from Florida’s west coast to Georgia, the central Florida coast and parts of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.
Irma’s path will likely stretch across much of the Bahamas, the Bahamas Islands and the Caribbean Sea before ending up over the eastern United States, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Irma is forecast to hit the Gulf of Mexico, bringing sustained winds of up to 110 mph (180 kph) with gusts of up a full 100 mph (220 kph).
The hurricane will also produce widespread flooding and damaging winds.
It is expected that the center of Irma will bring some of the most widespread flooding in the United States.
Florida’s National Weather Services office posted an updated forecast for Irma on Thursday morning, saying that it is expected by the afternoon of Friday to move northeastward, reaching the coast of Louisiana and Alabama by Friday night.
The storm is expected in the Gulf by Friday evening, but that may not be enough to prevent widespread flooding, the forecast says.
The National Hurricane Centre says the storm could bring up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain.
Irma will have winds of 130 mph (200 kph), making it the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.
According to meteorologists, Irma could produce up to 15 inches (50 centimeters) or more of rain, and the storm is still expected to dump up to 20 inches (65 centimeters) on the southern U.S. coast by Saturday morning.
In Miami, Irma is currently forecast to pass directly over the city’s downtown area by Sunday evening.
The worst-case outlook for the region is for sustained winds to peak at 80 mph (130 kph); a hurricane warning is in effect for parts or all of the coast.
Irma was a Category 3 storm on Friday and was expected to move northward over the Gulf Sunday night, before turning east and headed for Florida.
The hurricane is expected have winds reaching 140 mph (249 kph on Thursday), according to meteorologist Ryan Maue of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
Miami-based Weather Underground has a storm track simulator that shows the track of Irma and shows how it will affect Florida.
Irma could also bring tropical storm force winds to the Florida Keys, which is where most of the state’s population is located.
Irma has a track of 10 to 15 mph (16 to 22 kph)…it’s not yet clear how the winds will move over the island, but the forecast shows the storm would bring up-to-30 mph (48 kph.) to much of Florida.
According, Hurricane Irma may bring some heavy rain and gusts in the southern Florida Keys.
Irma and Hurricane Joaquin are both expected to be quite a bit stronger than Irma.
Hurricane Joaquín, which was named for the hurricane Joaquin, is expected later today to arrive near the Florida Panhandle with sustained winds near 90 mph (160 kph).
“According to Weather Underground, the model’s track shows Irma and Joaquin will cross the Florida panhandle on Thursday evening and move west across the central part of the U.A.E., heading east to Florida.
Hurricane Irma and the strongest hurricane ever recorded, Hurricane JoÃ¡n, have a track that is much more northward than Irma’s.
Irma may pass near or directly over parts of Florida by Friday afternoon.
Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico on Tuesday, has a path that is more north-south than Irma and is expected at least to be in the center by Friday morning.
Hurricane Jose has a long track that would make it move along the U-shaped path of the Category 3 hurricane JoÃÚn and Category 2 Hurricane Jose.
According the model, the path of Hurricane Jose is expected east of Puerto Rico, and it could move to the northeast by Friday.
Jose’s strongest winds are expected to come through Puerto Rico by Saturday night.
Irma, the strongest tropical storm ever measured in the Western Hemisphere, has been named for a town on the island of St. Thomas in the French-owned St. Croix Bay, USA Today reports.
The island is located about 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) east of the Florida peninsula.
The U.N. hurricane monitoring system said in a tweet that St. Anthony, a small island off the island that is about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of the city, was expected “to experience a number of impacts.”
The island was struck by Hurricane Joquín on Sept. 25, and Hurricane Jose was forecast to come ashore on St. Lucia on Oct. 12.
Hurricane Leila is forecast as a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained wind speeds of at least 115 mph