"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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Bank_sters's picture

Florida keys will be a 2 foot sand bar after this one.

Deep Snorkeler's picture

Irma, the Creeping Terror

Humans have over-populated the Earth

and now face ecological pushback of increasing severity.

Suddenly, authorities realized that residents

had become too fat to flee the hurricane. 

Their relationship to this event is

unseverable.

 

Honest Sam's picture

Cliff's notes version:

Karma.

robertocarlos's picture

Fucking tourists haven't left yet? That is funny. Then they bitch when there's no ice.

Defiated's picture

yup, Here's a 'Clue'...

DON'T VACATION DURING HURRICANE SEASON IN THE CARRIBEAN

(even if you save $200 on the 'all-inclusive' package)

detached.amusement's picture

said the same thing to mom when she was crabbing about Kauai being rainy at the end of October.  Ma.  its friggin monsoon season there, whaddya want?

bluez's picture

Time for the Floridians to come to beautiful sunny New England.

I remember all the Katrina Louisiana license plates in Vermont.

Don't be stupid you're not going to "ride it out".

From the "fun on the beach" perspective, Florida is finished.

Get a light pickup truck and load up the kids in the back.

Face it you're screwed. Just get the fuck out!

skinwalker's picture

I live in Florida.

I'm not going to evacuate, for a variety of factors:

1. I'm insanely well prepped.

2. I live considerably far inland at decent altitude.

3. The geography of may area has shown that historically direct hits by hurricanes are rare.

4. If I leave, I have nowhere to go, and looters will take all my stuff.

5. I know a bunch of half panicked bitches who even now are begging me to let them stay if the hurricane moves in. My wife is a bit skeptical about it, but she'll come around.

Cloud9.5's picture

Right there with you.  Why would I want to run to the hills when I live on one?

robertocarlos's picture

You let those girlz in and you will lose half your shit in the divorce.

petroglyph's picture

Yeah, whether or not he pleasures himself with them. There is no comforting or convincing an insecure woman. And, I found out that half means 85%. So if he lets them in, might just as well have his way with them, gonna lose his stuff anyway.

skinwalker's picture

You don't know my wife. She's more likely to keep them for herself.

83_vf_1100_c's picture

Are you saying your wife is a carpet muncher? That is fucked up dude.

e_goldstein's picture

Video or it didn't happen ;-)

Honest Sam's picture

What  is your elevation?  Florida looks as flat as the plains states, just with more bushes. 

Kidbuck's picture

Here in Citrus county, 90 miles north of Tampa. Fl. There is a strip of land about 10 miles wide along the coast that is prone to ocean flooding. Lots of high ground inland about 20 miles, 102 feet above sea level. But you have to pay attentions and know up from down when you buy because developers don't. To the west is a 50 mile wide stretch of swamp land, drained to look like it is buildable and many did. I'm on a hill at least 50 feet higher than the surrounding neighborhood, so flooding is out, however I'm thinking that makes me a great target for the coming 180 mph winds.

krispkritter's picture

On the ridge in Hernando at 190ft, house is built into the hill. Trees on all 4 sides. Aluminum roof deck and hurricane panels. Whole house propane genset and plenty of preps. I'm sitting at home for this show.

UdderContempt's picture

If you can somehow calm these half panicked bitches they may shoot well enough to be beneficial. No worries.

Stan Smith's picture

Good luck and be safe regardless.

skinwalker's picture

Thanks! I appreciate it.

For reference I live about 50 miles northwest of Jacksonville, about 45 miles from the coast, and about 70 feet above sea level. Additionally, there's a moderate river about a mile away and 50 feet below me that should drain off flooding.

If this thing hits Florida, it will likely hit in the south, which means I'll get tropical storm conditions only. That is easily survivable.

My biggest worry is a million or three refugees coming up, wreaking havoc as they go.

Father ¢hristmas's picture

I'm coming over to comfort your wife in these trying times while you go out and gather moar supplies, man.  Then the healing can begin.

Silverhog's picture

Turks and Caicos is having quite a bit of new construction this year after a long absence. Many big new homes right by the water in the Leeward section. Hope my favorite haunt the "Conch Shack" survives. It has before, but not a Cat 5. 

Swampster's picture

People are so incredibly stupid it hurts. Doesn't everyone have a couple of Jumbo sized Rubbermaid food quality trash cans, a couple of food grade buckets and a sawyer all in one water filter?

https://sawyer.com/products/sawyer-pointone-one-filter/

 

Yep, us "preppers" are "crazy".....

turkey george palmer's picture

A cheap water treatment is polar pure, makes water free of pathogens but not dirt. Still should filter with a cloth

Dilluminati's picture
Butterfly #2641 Basic 10-Wick Kerosene Cook Stove
Dilluminati's picture

I'm a prepper and sometimes like Fukishima it's not viable, you are looking at stuff simply underwater.  On the other hand... I'm not standing in a line "trying" to procure necessities. 

https://www.clickorlando.com/news/central-florida-shoppers-filling-up-on...

fortune favors the prepared

66Mustanggirl's picture

Well here's something for the super-duper weird and creepy category;
Up until a few days ago, when you googled the meaning of the name Irma, you came up with "Goddess of War". All of those references have now disappeared and a NEW meaning is found; whole or universal. However, you can still find the reference to Irmin, the German god of war from whence Irma is derived:
Irmin was the god of war. Irmin was either equated with Tiwaz (Tyr) or it was possibly another name for Tiwaz. His name implied that of one of great strength or that he was the god of strength.
http://www.timelessmyths.com/norse/teutonic.html#Irmin

Hurry and catch it before Google scrubs that reference, too. I think the almighty PTB are in the midst of a serious meltdown if something like THIS freaks them out. Sheesh.

Sugarcandy Mountain's picture

https://searx.me/

The above search engine still reports back with sites that confirm "Goddess of War" as a meaning for this name, along with other meanings.

Fuck Goolag. Why give them anything at all?

 

66Mustanggirl's picture

The fact that SOMEONE at that universal monstrosity known as Google actually went through the trouble to change the meaning of the name is just plain chilling....and HILARIOUS!! They are truly losing it. Bring on the padded rooms and straight jackets lol!

Sugarcandy Mountain's picture

They are truly losing it.

They've already lost. The cat's out of the bag now about their agenda. It's just a matter of time before they experience real life blowback. If I ever meet anybody in real life who works for that piece of shit company, I'm not going to stop at verbal violence. Enough's enough.

iamrefreshed's picture

Listen to these morons staying. I'm in Orlando and outta here Thursday night on a flight to JFK. Fuck my "stuff". Dindu's can kill each other over it. In fact, I hope they do. Then I've made a contribution to society.

PitBullsRule's picture

And now you know the downside to living in the warm, beautiful, Virgin Islands.

John McCloy's picture

  I spent 10 days on St. John in a villa a few years back...It truly is heaven but alas..Then there is annual factor.

cheech_wizard's picture

St. Croix myself...(courtesy of the U.S. Navy) Broke 3 blenders in a bar drinking pina coladas with some fellow crewmen.

One should do this if one gets the chance, regardless of one's inebriation levels... https://www.nps.gov/buis/index.htm

Important Safety Tip: Do not take underwater flash pictures of the barracuda, our guide that day said they are really attracted to bright shiny objects.

Sambo's picture

What are the chances an alligator will end up in someone's cozy bedroom in Mar-a-Lago club?

No Escape's picture

Cool...hopefully this saves a few Korean nukes.

Kprime's picture

just think of the billions hillary will suck in from brain dead democrats contributing to her "IRMA Relief for the Clinton Bank Account" "save the children" funds.  won't be long till she can afford another server in the closet.

YourAverageJoe's picture

They'd better get busy jacking their 10 ton standby generators an additional 12 feet in the air!

There's not a moment to lose.

Ms No's picture

Oh, I wonder what discussion you are referring to there.  That is quite disingenuous of you.  First of all we were talking about already required federal generator regulation for critical infrastructure.  As I stated repeatedly this is required to already be in place and be inspected.  These regulations, and common sense actions where regulations aren't required due to age, are not required of homeowners.  Critical structure means that there is a large loss of life when power is lost.  When a homeowner goes six feet under he no longer needs power and also wont be responsible for killing a mile radius, or hundreds of people in a hospital.

Having said that, if a homeowner bothers to spend a bunch of money on a generator and then leave it at ground level such as this then they have rendered it worthless under even small flood circumstances.  Here is an example of elevated generator similar to what we have where I live.  Apparently some people have even done it with wood although if not anchored it is likely not compliant with codes.  Here is one second story, notice the stairwell and rooftops.  Once they get big they come with built in elevation so you don't have to use so much concrete.  Did you know that due to flood risk in some areas not only is backup power and air conditioning required to be elevated but the entire house as well?   

As far as critical infrastructure goes they are already federally required to have 500 year flood elevation plus one foot MINIMUM for generators.  With some old outfits the fall under state regulation primarily.  Most states will enforce that they do this.  Texas however, will obviously do what it wants.

For example, due to possible life loss hospitals are considered critical.  This is why many new hospitals even have a separate building for emergency generator banks ON THE SECOND FLOOR.  How high would you say the second floor of a hospital usually is?  10 feet, 12 feet 14 feet?  Hospitals require a tremendous amount of sustained backup power for obvious reasons.  Big indoor generators for big plant operations are often on giant slabs of concrete also.  This is actually run of the mill shit for dangerous operations. 

Nobody ever suggested that somebody should have to run for power as a disaster is happening.  Although apparently they do allow some very small critical operations to contact for emergency generator delivery as long as they maintain quick-link hookup, an elevated road that wont flood for delivery and a bunch of other shit.  Like old Texas chemical operations, old nuke plants also get away with murder.  I assume that the nuclear regulatory agency is responsible for that but those generators need to be brought into compliance with everybody else.  This isn't reengineering the world.

https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1424214818421-60725708b37ee7c1dd72a8fc84a8e498/FEMAP-1019_Final_02-06-2015.pdf

 

OutaTime43's picture

These are flight level winds. Surface winds are lower by a factor called the slant ratio. This number is typically anywhere between 0.79 and 0.89 (broad storms are lower in the range while small round focused storms near the top).  175 mph Cat 5 flight level means surface winds between 138 and 155 mph.

Tiwin's picture

Flite winds 170KTS or 195mph

175 is surface estimate.

NEOSERF's picture

PR: Irma+Bankruptcy+broken windows=forgiveness and $100B aid

YourAverageJoe's picture

We could always give it back to Spain.

azusgm's picture

Spain would just strike a deal with the migrants and resettle them on PR.

Give Me Some Truth's picture

Better hold off a week or two on the Hurricane Relief package. 

I'll say again, debt ceiling suspended, blank check for hurricane emergency funds. Ramp up the printing press to Category 6. 

Also, best hold off that war with North Korea for a couple of months.

P.S. Hurriane season lasts until Nov. 30th.

If this one hits with anywhere near the punch that's being predicted, and then another hurricane hits in the next 12 or so weeks, can the insurance companies get by without a bailout? Their reserve funds are going to have to sell a lot of stocks, aren't they? "Someone" is going to have to do some serious buying too.

"It seems destiny (Mother Nature) has taken a hand."

Honest Sam's picture

The never talked about financial scandal is the Reserve calculation that Iinsurance companies use to cut their corporate income taxes. It's about time those reserves were taken down to pay for claims. 

At least that would somewhat rectify the advantage the Insurance companies have been using to pay their executives unearned bonuses. 

Reserves are exactly that. 

And a fall in the market would be welcome to the short sellers who have been denied their gains. 

But that would make me a bit happier and god is determined that I should be be granted not one second of relief. 

petroglyph's picture

I hope PR's power company has good insurance on those stupid windmills and they all blow down so they can collect on the insurance on this failed tech and help the poor people out of debt. https://faustasblog.com/2013/07/puerto-rico-wind-farm-fiasco/