"Monster" Irma Is Now The Strongest Atlantic Hurricane On Record As Florida Preps For "Catastrophe"

Tyler Durden's picture

Update 3: The Irma hits just keep on coming, with the NHC Atlantic Ops twitter page reporting that as of this moment, Irma is now the stronger hurricane in the Atlantic basin outside of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico in NHC records. “Preparations should be rushed to completion in the hurricane warning area,” the NHC said.

Taking things to the next level, literally, meteorologist Eric Holthaus writes that Hurricane Irma is now expected to *exceed* the theoretical maximum intensity for a storm in its environment, or as he puts it "Redefining the rules."

Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello urged the 3.4 million residents of the U.S. territory to seek refuge in one of 460 hurricane shelters before the storm is expected to hit as early as Tuesday night. “This is something without precedent,” Rossello told a news conference. He will ask U.S. President Donald Trump to declare a federal state of emergency even before the storm passes to allow disbursement of U.S. emergency funds.

Gary Randall, head of the Blue Waters Resort on Antigua’s north coast, said the staff had boarded up windows, stripped trees of coconuts and fronds and secured anything that could become a hazard. “I wasn’t that nervous yesterday, but today I‘m nervous,” Randall said by telephone, adding that he expected the hotel’s beach to be swept away and much of the 108-room property to be flooded.

According to Bloomberg, Irma’s current path - headed straight for Florida - has prompted the state to prepare for the "catastrophic" system.

Unlike Harvey, which caused widespread damage, power outages and flooding and taking almost a fifth of U.S. oil refining capacity offline, Irma is a bigger threat to agriculture, with orange juice futures surging.

Airlines have canceled flights across the Caribbean and are adding planes to evacuate tourists, while cruise-line stocks have tumbled.

A strike on Florida would be the first time since 1964 that the U.S. was hit by back-to-back storms of Category 3 or more and only the second time since 1851, Henson said. Irma is now among the 7 most powerful storms on record to cross the Atlantic.


“Our biggest concern is Florida citrus,” said Joel Widenor, co-founder of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. “There is big enough fruit on the trees that the fruit could drop off, it could literally get blown off. The bigger issue is tree damage that is a lot harder to recover from.”

Some more facts: Florida is the world’s largest producer of orange juice after Brazil. About two-thirds of the state’s citrus crop is located in the lower two-thirds of the peninsula. Orange juice for November delivery jumped as much as 6.9 percent to $1.4595 a pound on ICE Futures U.S. Tuesday, the biggest intraday gain for the contract since Jan. 28, 2016. Cotton for December delivery jumped by the 3-cent exchange limit, or 4.2 percent, to 74.88 cents a pound. Aggregate trading for both commodities for this time doubled compared with the 100-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“There is an increasing chance of seeing some impacts from Irma in the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys later this week,” the National Hurricane Center said after Governor Rick Scott declared an emergency.

There is still hope that a direct hit will be avoided: "The expected path has shifted considerably west over the last two days and can still change over the next two," said Olivier Jakob, founder of energy consultant Petromatrix GmbH in Zug, Switzerland. “We cannot yet rule out a move further west with a Louisiana risk.”

Irma’s track could shift as it nears Cuba and Florida, according to Bob Henson, a meteorologist with Weather Underground in Boulder, Colorado. One possibility is a turn to the north that would take the storm up the Florida peninsula.


“It is four to five days away,” Henson said. “In hurricane-land that is a pretty long time span.”

Beyond the threat to people and property in the Caribbean, the focus for now is on agriculture, Jakob said. Irma is leading traders to be “long orange Juice futures rather than gasoline futures," he said.

Only three Category 5 hurricanes have hit the contiguous 48 U.S. states, Henson told Bloomberg. The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 that devastated the Florida Keys, Hurricane Camille in 1969 and Hurricane Andrew that cut across Florida in 1992. Andrew was originally classified as a Category 4 storm only to be upgraded years later after further analysis.

“It is obviously a rare breed,” Henson said. “We are in rare territory.”

* * *

Update 2: While few are willing to admit it yet, according to meteorologist Ryan Maye, Hurricane Irma is still intensifying, with winds up to 155-knots (180 mph) and that extrapolating Saffir-Simpson scale, 158-knots would be Category 6.

* * *

Update: Irma has been upgraded from a Cat 5+ Hurricane to "Potentially Catastrophic" Cat 5++ storm, with winds now near 180 mph gusting to 220 mph, still moving due west at 14 mph.

Here is the latest NHC update:

At 1100 AM AST (1500 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 16.8 North, longitude 58.4 West. Irma is moving toward the west near 14 mph (22 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue today, followed by a turn toward the west-northwest tonight. On the forecast track, the extremely dangerous core of Irma is forecast to move over portions of the northern Leeward Islands tonight and early Wednesday.


Reports from an Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds are near 180 mph (285 km/h) with higher gusts.  Irma is a an extremely dangerous category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.


Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles (260 km).


The latest minimum central pressure reported by reconnaissance aircraft is 931 mb (27.50 inches).

* * *

Irma has strengthened to an "extremely dangerous" Category 5 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said in its advisory at 7:45am AST. According to the Hurricane center, NOAA and Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft data indicate Hurricane Irma has intensified into an "extremely dangerous" Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with maximum winds of 175 mph (280 km/h) with higher gusts.

As of this moment, the hurricane is located 270 miles east of Antigua, moving west at 14 mph. States of emergency were declared in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and all of Florida while people on various Caribbean islands boarded up homes and rushed to find last-minute supplies, forming long lines outside supermarkets and gas stations. This morning the Dominican Republic has issued a Hurricane Watch from Cabo Engano to northern border with Haiti; Tropical Storm Watch from south of Cabo Engao to Isla Saona.

According to meteorologists, Irma is the 17th hurricane in the Atlantic on record to have max winds >= 175 mph. Atlantic max wind record is Allen (1980) at 190 mph.

Ultimately, the question is how strong Irma will be when it inevitably makes landfall on the Eastern Seaboard, somewhere in the vicinity of Miami.

Meanwhile, officials across the northeastern Caribbean canceled airline flights, shuttered schools and urged people to hunker down indoors as Hurricane Irma barreled toward the region, now as an "extremely powerful" Category 5 storm. Irma's maximum sustained winds increased to near 175 mph early Tuesday.

According to AP, emergency officials warned that the storm could dump up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain, unleash landslides and dangerous flash floods and generate waves of up to 23 feet (7 meters) as the storm drew closer.

"We're looking at Irma as a very significant event," Ronald Jackson, executive director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, said by phone. "I can't recall a tropical cone developing that rapidly into a major hurricane prior to arriving in the central Caribbean." 

U.S. residents were urged to monitor the storm's progress in case it should turn northward toward Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas. "This hurricane has the potential to be a major event for the East Coast. It also has the potential to significantly strain FEMA and other governmental resources occurring so quickly on the heels of (Hurricane) Harvey," Evan Myers, chief operating officer of AccuWeather, said in a statement.

In the Caribbean, the director of Puerto Rico's power company predicted that storm damage could leave some areas of the U.S. territory without electricity for four to six months. But "some areas will have power (back) in less than a week," Ricardo Ramos told radio station Notiuno 630 AM.

The power company's system has deteriorated greatly amid Puerto Rico's decade-long recession, and the territory experienced an islandwide outage last year. Meanwhile, the governor of the British Virgin Islands urged people on Anegada island to leave if they could, noting that Irma's eye was expected to pass 35 miles (56 kilometers) from the capital of Road Town.

"This is not an opportunity to go outside and try to have fun with a hurricane," U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp warned. "It's not time to get on a surfboard."

Antigua and Anguilla shuttered schools Monday, and government office closures were expected to follow. On the tiny island of Barbuda, hotel manager Andrea Christian closed the Palm Tree Guest House. She said she was not afraid even though it would be her first time facing a storm of that magnitude.

"We can't do anything about it," Christian said by phone, adding that she had stocked up on food and water. "We just have to wait it out."

Both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands expected 4 inches to 8 inches (10-20 centimeters) of rain and winds of 40-50 mph with gusts of up to 60 mph. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello activated the National Guard, canceled classes for Tuesday and declared a half-day of work. He also warned of flooding and power outages. "It's no secret that the infrastructure of the Puerto Rico Power Authority is deteriorated," Rossello said.

Meteorologist Roberto Garcia warned that Puerto Rico could experience hurricane-like conditions in the next 48 hours should the storm's path shift. "Any deviation, which is still possible, could bring even more severe conditions to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands," Garcia said. The U.S. Virgin Islands said the school year would open Friday instead of Tuesday.

Gov. Kenneth Mapp said most hotels in the U.S. territory were at capacity with some 5,000 tourists. He noted the storm was expected to pass 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of St. Thomas and warned that the island could experience sustained winds as high as 80 mph

"It's not a lot of distance," he said, adding: "It could affect us in a tremendous way. I'm not saying that to alarm anyone or scare anyone, but I want the Virgin Islands to be prepared."

Residents on the U.S. East Coast were urged to monitor the storm's progress due to the possibility it could turn northward toward Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas. "This hurricane has the potential to be a major event for the East Coast. It also has the potential to significantly strain FEMA and other governmental resources occurring so quickly on the heels of (Hurricane) Harvey," Evan Myers, chief operating officer of AccuWeather, said in a statement.

In Miami-Dade County, the early scramble was on to stock up on hurricane supplies, reports CBS Miami. People were shopping for gasoline, generators, food, batteries, and everything else they'd need get by were Irma to hit the region hard.

"We are not yet at the height of hurricane season and people have not taken steps to get prepared yet," Miami-Dade County Emergency Management Director Curt Sommerhoff said Monday. "We are encouraging them to take those steps today." Miami-Dade officials were to meet Tuesday to assess the danger.

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Georgiabelle's picture

Because the weather weapon (ENMOD) is in the possession of a power that considers North Korea and Syria to be allies?

consider me gone's picture

Irma is Krugman's pet project. Untold broken windows.

Muddy1's picture

I keep thinking it'll go south and miss Miami, curve into New Orleans, or cruise right into Houston.

consider me gone's picture

As a coastal Florida resident I just want to say you are a scholar and a gentleman.

JRobby's picture

Only accurate model out. there.


High pressure / front pushing south 4 and 5 days out. Pointing that out reduces ad revenue.


JRobby's picture

Sorry to the down voters if this reality interferes with your gouging.

Have no fear, the people in FL have already flipped out. Stores and gas emptying out, behavior deteriorating rapidly. The controllers win again.

Maybe a shooting or two before Friday. Great for the MSM!!!

They live to cause and laugh at the misery of the sheep


JRobby's picture

Colder High pressure moves in on Friday.


But the spell and mass hysteria is already in full swing. Water & gas supplies being wiped out, people leaving.

"Patrons" automaton walking into convienince store with a glazed over pharma trance stare, right up to the counter even though there are 5 or 6 people waiting on line, begin trying to transact as though there is no one else in the store.

DeadFred's picture

Yeah, a couple days ago as I watched the forecasts change hour by hour depending on when they thought it would veer north I noticed that it was on a straight line, right toward Houston. The Ponzi finance system is being judged right now and the judgments will strike at economic targets. My opinion. Time will tell

JRobby's picture

Water cleaned out at all retail stores. The supply hogs out all yesterday and today.


"Mortimer, your brother is ill !!!"

"Fuck him !!!!"


Tiwin's picture

"Turn those HAARPS back on"

Maximeme Q's picture

The spike in orange juice futures compliments your remarks perfectly.

JRobby's picture

Yes. The freakout will go on for weeks. Mass numbers of th w population can not think intagibly and see what is going on.

They react with a Pavlovian response. Every time.

Temporalist's picture

If the corexit didn't get you, the hurricanes, earthquakes, gators, humidity, pit vipers, sink holes, huge bloodsucking flying things, might?

Paul Kersey's picture

If Irma smacks Mar-a-Lago, will Trump get a taxpayer funded reconstruction?

dark pools of soros's picture

I hear Larry Silverstein just bought all of South Beach and triple insured it

Whoa Dammit's picture

Here's some good Irma chart porn from WSB radio's meterologist Kirk Mellish. 31% chance of going into the Gulf, 43% chance of going east of Florida.


DaveyJones's picture

and just like the planes, the hurricane will do flips and turns and other things never seen before

Winston Churchill's picture

I've seen two hurricanes do 180 degree turns in the last 25 years.

Neither were forecast to do that until the very last minute.

Its not over until its over.

Scuba Steve's picture

controlled demo of all the beach resorts?

Paul Kersey's picture

And Dimon and Blankfein are sitting on betting on the devastation with 40-1 leverated derivatives. If they lose, they'll be bailed out by the taxpayers.

rbianco3's picture

Irma take the Jew out

All of them every last one to make up for our loss of WW2

The Cooler King's picture

No, probably just another dumb ass tweet from the professor who got fired.

Lost My Shorts's picture

After the PC police banned events at Mar-a-Lago, and every correct organization cancelled, a total insurance loss would be Trump's best business outcome.

ThePhantom's picture

now look at your karma....

Son of Loki's picture

"Grampa, we're gonna need more duck tape."

Stuck on Zero's picture

You may want to do a bit of reefing if you're out sailing in Biscayne Bay in your 35 footer. Those 220 mph winds can be tricky.

Handful of Dust's picture

10 inches is not as bad as Harvey which was dumping 16 inches per day for > 4 days.

Tiwin's picture

Maybe its because CENTCOM,the command post of all our Mideast Trillions lost for nothing, is at MacDil AFB (Tampa)l,every Allah worshipper must be praying to their Man in the Clouds right about now.

In Ze No's picture

My brother was supposed to ride out a hurricane about a decade ago at CENT COM.  That building he was supposed to be in is only rated to withstand a Cat 3.

e_goldstein's picture

This is karma for that Florida Professor who got fired for earlier saying the Texas hurricane was karma for Texans who mostly voted for Trump

Florida should sacrifice that asshole to Poseidon. Who knows, maybe he will spare them his wrath.

NoDebt's picture

I wonder if the left wing MSM pundits will be able to make up their minds whether this hurricane was caused by global warming or because God hates Donald Trump.  They seemed to equivocate about that a bit with Harvey.


Bryan's picture

If only USA were full-on socialist state.  Then everything would just be OK!  /s

tmosley's picture

They treat the climate like an angry god that demands human sacrifice, so they can probably have it both ways.

DaveyJones's picture

come to think of it, if I was a mother and also a god, I wanna kick our ass too.

panhead20's picture

No, hurricanes are not caused by gloabal warming, but category 5 hurricanes (among the most powerful hurricanes (as measured by windspeed) ever recorded) will occur more frequently. Get used to it, your children will have to.

chubakka's picture

I dont think its global warming but i do think its because of a warm globe. 

mstyle's picture

What is the significance of this? Are you implying that they may be purposefully hiding the data while the use their geoengineering and HAARP toys to make sure it hits where they want it to?

My best guess is that it doesn't turn north and ends up going into the Gulf..

DaveyJones's picture

We need some good hurricane names like MacBeth and Rocky


Maybe they're saving them for category 11s

Filthy_Cerberus's picture

Those are still pussy names.  How about something like HammerFist or SlobberKnocker?

HumanMan's picture

Irma comes from Irmine, a Germanic war goddess. Pretty hardcore if you know a bit of history.

DaveyJones's picture

no LADY MacBeth is a pussy name

funny though, she was tougher than him

Eurotrash Sorehead's picture

Cannibal Corpse, Slayer, Cradle of Filth

GUS100CORRINA's picture

I know IRMA is the focus, but there is another storm right behind IRMA whose name is JOSE which looks like a doosy as well.

As a side note, during the flood of Noah, the Institute of Creation Research (ICR) ran a computer simulation model that predicted hurricane strength in the Gulf at the time of NOAH (Genesis 6). The number that they arrived at for the model was between 500 and 600 mph wind speed which was referred to as a hypercane.

I know this situation looks bad, but it could be much worse. 

I hope people realize that this current storm situation has absolutely nothing to do with "MAN-MADE ANYTHING". The SUN and the earth polar shift (now underway) are the main influencing factors. 

justa minute's picture

you who keeps quoting the Bible in Psalms and Isaiah it says the earth is set on its foundation and cant be moved. The earth is not a globe therefore no south pole and no pole shift. Selective Bible reading and quoting much