"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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brokenspoke's picture

Rebuild with mosks and it would look like Spain.

yogibear's picture

Too bad this can't happen to North Korea.

max_leering's picture

Andrew hit s. Florida at 924Mb... like a gigantic Hoover

Two Theives and a Liar's picture

I'll never forget watching the Weather Channel (back when it was actually watchable) as Andrew made landfall. Old weather vet Dr. John Hope (RIP) was in the National Hurricane Center bunker describing the whole building shuddering.. He sounded genuinely nervous and he had probably seen it all to that point. 

Now it's strippers, nerds, climate change and good ol' Jim Cantore.

RIP Weather Channel.


vealparm's picture

"Strippers and nerds"............sounds like SNOPES........BTW, are they still in business?

atomic balm's picture

snopes, or strippers and nerds?

Give Me Some Truth's picture

Re: The Weather Channel,

They've been waiting 12 long years for this. According to their hysteria, We were supposed to have four of these every year for the past 12 years. This SHOULD be Major Hurricane No. 49.

Justin Case's picture

They'll get a taste of Manila. They had at cat 5 last year hit Tacloban. Severe damage and a lot of dead bodies of children in the ocean.

Sugarcandy Mountain's picture

They had at cat 5 last year hit Tacloban

It was in November 2013 (Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda), and Manila is nowhere near Tacloban. Do get your shit straight before you post.

yogibear's picture

All Un has to do is wipe out the West coast, while mother nature wipes out the East coast.

rbianco3's picture

Praying it hits either NY or DC - Focusing on as many Jews as possible

I gave them benefit of the doubt until they refused to insure our newly cash purchased home in Florida 

Jews are like Termites destroying from within. If there's a God strike them down

Give Me Some Truth's picture

I'm so sorry you weren't a young man in Germany in the 1930s. You missed your time and place didn't you? It must be hard on you.

Anyway, see you at the next rally, at our next meeting.

To Hitler Be the Glory. May God Bless the Joo Killers. So forth, so on.



_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture
Sep 05 21:00 GMT 17.1° -59.8° 185 mph 926 mb Hurricane 5
Proofreder's picture


Cat 5+++

How Low Can You Go, Limbo Man ...

_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture
Sep 06 06:00 GMT 17.7° -61.8° 185 mph 914 mb Hurricane 5
drendebe10's picture

It's global warmings fault

Sugarcandy Mountain's picture

Somebody's playing with their HAARP.

lil dirtball's picture

>"I can't recall a tropical cone developing that rapidly into a major hurricane prior to arriving in the central Caribbean."

Because, now they can.

Thank God it doesn't go to '11'.

Sugarcandy Mountain's picture

Well, there were a bunch of new cloud names just recently released (to assure the general public that nothing is amiss in the sky), so perhaps they'll ratchet up the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale up a notch or 6. Why not? Everything else seems to be made up bullshit these days.

FreeShitter's picture

Wouldnt surprise me....Nothing suprises me anymore lol

PrayingMantis's picture

... apparently, ENMOD was reported on TASS (quietly, I'd presume) ... >>>
... "... "The technique is based on the use of silver iodide-containing substance. A cartridge charged with this substance is fired over a cloud from a plane. A rain front forms within a span of 30 minutes," Rostec said in a press release.
According to the corporation, the technique was successfully tested in late July 2017 to "induce precipitation in areas swept by forest fires." "Rostec’s collaborator under this project is Research Institute of Applied Chemistry," it said. ... " >>> http://tass.com/science/960090

... and tested as well in Moscow, Paris, Berlin & Cuba ... (and Houston?)
>>> http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index2369.htm ...

... well, who knows ... today's "conspiracy theory" could very well be tomorrow's "conspiracy fact" ...


lil dirtball's picture

> Sorcha Faal

... has been discredited for at least 10 years, perhaps longer.


PrayingMantis's picture

... you might be right, or otherwise, but I wouldn't discount TASS's report (see my posting above) about ENMOD ... which Sorcha Faal used as one of the links' sources ... and btw, if you check the WDIM article, you'd find all the links' sources credible ... I always try to keep an open mind about these "new" "conspiracy" things... Remember when HAARP and EMP came out ? ... they were discredit as well like "garbage" until perhaps proven otherwise ... much like what you're doing now ...

... if the article came from CNN, then I'd totally agree with your trash assumption ... ;)

... cheers ...

... and btw, why is it there's a "UN convention for the prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques" ... way back in 1977 ?

>>> http://www.un-documents.net/enmod.htm ....

silverer's picture

Let's see how smart Floridians are. I'm waiting for the "Oh, we're going to ride it out" crowd where it makes landfall.

847328_3527's picture

I read the "Save the Smelt" rescue team is on its way to Florida as we speak.


Jery Borwn allowed so many to die in oroville...he's disgusting!

Stuck on Zero's picture

Those smart Floridians voted for Wasserman-Schultz. She will protect them.

jme540's picture

Probably they are afraid that some disadvantaged victims of racism would steel from their houses.

Never One Roach's picture

they be entitled to it, yes?


they're not 'looting' they just be getting 'repartion social justice.'

buttmint's picture

...the Russians, again! I think CNN and Pelosi and DC scum oughta look into Ruskies sending hurricanes barreling towards USA, wtf Putin?

We've always treated you with respect, why are you sending us all these tropical storms>



My fave scenario is that IRMA turn north, enters the Chesapeake Bay and takes out DC. The world would be a much bettert place without all the stupid agencies out post WWII money created, Fuck John McCain!

rbianco3's picture

I"m Floridian, out on business, flying my daughter out of Orlando asap.

Charley a Cat-3 was bad enough. We had tree fall on our house just last year from that weak 'cane going up coast.

Cat-5 ++ FUCK That - This is apocalypse 

My daughter said, Orlando is fucking lines for water and gas everywhere. Orlando is inland!

God damn Jews - I hope they stay behind.

Kprime's picture

just earth's attempt to cleanse the filth of homo sapiens off it's shores.

Beowulf55's picture

Time for folks in Florida to go on vacation to Michigan.

Cloud9.5's picture

While that seems like a plausible suggestion, how long do you think it would take to evacuate 20 million people?  Who would provision them along the way?  And where would they go?

SoDamnMad's picture

Not to worry, the Clinton Glogal Iniative is on the way with all their Haiti experience.  Please send donations to Chelsea at BR 549.

Kprime's picture

Obama will stand on the state line and hold up his arms.  they will cross the Nile on dry land and the nigger god will rain down black manna and colt 40s.  then hopefully they will go back to the lands of their forefathers.

Raymond K Hessel's picture

You mean England and Scotland, since they have claim to that part of their heritage?


Kprime's picture

niggers in kilts, now there's a sight that's hard to envision.

P.S. you don't have to sign your comments "idiot", we can tell it's you.

83_vf_1100_c's picture

Downvoters be damned, that there was some funny shit.

cossack55's picture

If they use US 1, about 38 minutes

Beowulf55's picture

you ever hear of the term sarcasm?


Maybe I should have said:  KARMA IS A BITCH.


silverer's picture

Make it Illinois. They could use the tourist money.

chubbar's picture

I would fully expect the governor to levy a Hurrican Tax on anyone entering Illinois from Florida, say 50% of all the money you are carrying and 10% of the available limit on your CC's. That state really knows a thing or two about taxing.