"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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Ghost of Porky's picture

ManBearPig is on a freaking rampage this year. Totally cereal.

1stepcloser's picture

There goes Trumps Mar a lago

Father ¢hristmas's picture

This is going to be a lot of fun.  Hopefully the power is knocked out for a few days and I can ride around taking care of a lil business, reacquainting myself with some of these native sons of Florida.

NubianSundance's picture

Au contraire, if you are into world records this is the ideal time to get on a surf board.

shankster's picture

Miami is already a 3rd world dump.

Gohigher's picture

So if you HAARP-fry the ionosphere, will that raise the debt ceiling ? Well that would solve that pesky spending limit discussion, eh?

Middle America Grovels Again

sparkadore's picture

Welcome to the new face of warfare.  Why drop lots of bombs when you can direct and intensify devastating storms totally incognito.  Some say it is an inside job (HAARP and all).

Weather warfare is a reality, used extensivly in the 1970´s by the USA in Vietman.  Those who think that America´s internal and external enemies forgo such a potent anonymous weapon live in a land of disney.

One punch to the underbelly, Houston, then a ribs, East coast, and then...until the objectives of the movers and shakers are fulfilled.  

I expect downvotes from deep state scribes who want to keep this hidden from the general populace.  Any research at all proves that geoengineering is a current science practiced worldwide.  

Dumpster Elite's picture

"Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello activated the National Guard, canceled classes for Tuesday and declared a half-day of work."
So that guy in Puerto Rico that actually works got a half day off. Good for him!

vollderlerby's picture

PR doesn't usually need a hurricane to work half days and impede education, but hey, why not ...

Anteater's picture

The colloqial greeting in Guam is 'Half a day!' which is all we

had to work to support our families, until the Bolsheviks took

over in 1913 at Jekyll Island, then plunged America into WW1.

AntiMatter's picture
Wake Up Call! NASA LIES: Sun is NOT a Nuclear Furnace...... NASA ADMITS Live Feed Sun Footage is ANIMATION!!




moorewasthebestbond's picture

Let's start with the basics like the faked moon landings.

Pollygotacracker's picture

I have always had doubts about the moon landing. It was not the journey to the moon that seemed hard to pull off. It was the return trip. The moon landing supposedly occurred in 1969. I am old enough to remember those days and the technology that was available. I just doubt that we went to the moon. As far as the hurricane goes, I hope the state of Florida takes it in the shorts. Just on general principles.

Peterman333's picture

The required fuel to reach the moon and return home would have meant a rocket about 100x the size of the Saturn 5 rockets. Von Braun knew there was no freakin' way but cold war and all that.

Then there's the Van Allen radiation belt.

Made for nice theater though.

Kidbuck's picture

My uncle Fred, just turned 90, wrote the IBM operations manuals for the computers that went to the moon. It would have been harder to fake the moon landings and then keep the secret for 50 years than it would have to just go to the moon.

Father ¢hristmas's picture

Please.  You can't even talk about Jews getting treated for lice in work camps without getting a summons.

Rednecks were paying bounties for Indian scalps and that magically turned into crazed Indians scalping innocent settlers.

Americans know fuck all about anything.

We don't even issue our own currency, and that's unconstitutional, yet here we are.  We didn't go to no goddamned Moon.

Americans are just a bunch of fat Yankee farm boy versions of North Koreans with the amount of bullshit they spew about their omnipotent gubmint, who can't even balance a fucking checkbook.

konadog's picture

I sat across the room at a drafting board from the guy who claimed to have designed the clamshell shovel for the lander (and I'm certain he did because he still had the blueprints and he showed them to me), but that doesn't mean the US put humans on the moon or his shovel on the moon for that matter. I want to think the US did, but it's odd to me that no other country has gone and the US hasn't returned since Apollo 17 in 1972 (that's 45 freakin years where technology has advanced 50-fold - let that sink in). About keeping the secret being impossible. That's a common refrain, but people have come forward to claim human landings didn't happen. They are immediately smeared as kooks or crackpots. The character assassination quickly dissuades others who might be inclined to say something, but don't want to wear the scarlet letter. The deniers may indeed be crackpots looking for 15 minutes of fame, but in this era of universal deception the truth is a rare commodity. I keep an open mind on this one. We got something to the moon because there is a mirror anyone can hit with a laser and get a reflection, but as to humans landing - I say "maybe".

Nona Yobiznes's picture

No, what NASA probably admitted is that the feed takes data from an IR/UV/X-ray sensor and animates that into a visual spectrum image. Of course retard flat earthers/fake spacers have no idea what the fuck I just said.

Honest Sam's picture

Whatever happened to the Trump/Russia fictions?  What about all that noise about his tax returns?  How about Melania's shoes?  And Ivanka really being the green witch from, "The Wiz"?  

Is impeachment just going to die?  


Anteater's picture

I would rather watch continuous media coverage of the 

Mueller investigations into Trump Jr:Kushner collusion

to meet with foreign agents and buy 'highly classified and

sensitive materials' (that neither had the clearance to see),

in order to slander/libel an elected Fed official and defraud

a national election, which constitutes treason, despite RNC

Congress meeting in private with Trump Jr, and declaring

him 'exculpated' of any crime he freely admitted to, but

then recanted, as though intent to rob a bank, arming

and going into the bank is all perfectly 'exculpated', as

long as you talk about 'adopting' underage Ukrainian

girls, being traffiked by the same former Soviet Jews

that were selling intel to Trump:Kushner. It's a two-fer!

Trump Jr:Kushner for treason, and Trump Sr:Kushner

 running a traffiked prostitution and money laundering

ring out of Trump Hotels & Casinos, which has already

been convicted of money-laundering! Now that's PPV!

gilhgvc's picture

hey, heads up, you accidently used a N and a T instead of two  SS in your screen name.....happy to help

moorewasthebestbond's picture

It's all a grand insurance job!

vegas's picture

Smack dab in the middle of Hurricane Irma as I write ... plenty of cold beer on hand to wait it out along with stranded visitors in the hacienda. Won't this be fun. 



Crusader75's picture

This is what manmade climate change looks like, get used to it. Science has long predicted that hurricanes will get stronger and stronger.

Circlehook's picture

you're and idiot!  Al Gore would be proud of you parroting his bullshit!

Tiwin's picture

OMG we are all gonna die

Those same 'scientists' have been saying sea level would rise for 20 years now too.

With fully 60 years of reliable hurricane history (Satellites)  Theyve finally got it figured out.

I lived near the water in Tampa in 1968 Visited recently . Looked at the seawall -and the sea level aint gone up a single fucking inch.

Take your climate change and stuff it up Ariana Huffington's ass.

vietnamvet's picture

Please, please move back to Tampa and fulfill your promise to die.  Tampa Bay has been ranked first or in the top tier of metropolitan areas most vulnerable to storm surge and rising sea levels. As a study for Hillsborough County noted in 2014, coastal water levels in the Tampa bay area rose about an inch each decade since the 1950s, and they are expected to rise even faster through the rest of this century.

Peterman333's picture

The population increase from the 50's to 2017 is massive and is the reason for the vulnerability. People in the 1910's and 20'a built on the best (highest) pieces of land, over the decades many people needed homes and builders ventured into less desirable pieces of land. it is what it is and a large rain storm today can flood homes here.

Anteater's picture

I used to work for the EPA, then as a consultant writing planning

reports for local jurisdictions. It's like working at the Pentagon,

then becoming a MIC lobbyist. One time, I spent weeks in field

research, then concluded there was no benefit for a jurisdiction

to appropriate 'environmental planning' funds from taxpayers.

The county manager looks at me and said, "Whats's this!? We

paid you to support our AGW budget legislation!" Then he fired

me. I quit being an AGW pimp, and built a career in construction.

Al Gore chose to remain an AGW pimp. Hey, it's a free country!

Tiwin's picture

So....5 inches in 50 years!

Okay you *might* be right...they do have tides and all, and I did not consult the coast guard to see at which point in the tide cycle it was on that particular day.

I promise I will die , just for you, but it will *not* be in Tampa-unless their notorious bad drivers or a Dindu gets me on the street.

And yes , Tampa would be every bit as bad as New Orleans for a direct hit.

I still dont get your hostility, it must be from some previous posts on another subject and youre keeping a shit list.

Speaking of Hillsborough county studies, they probably copied/pasted some Warmista's because every Hillsborough resident knows the real money is going to sports billionaires to build yet another badly un needed stadium.

Anteater's picture

New England has surviving tidal guages from the 18thC. No change.

gilhgvc's picture

great, one asshole brings up moochelle obama waxing her cunt...back to therapy..now you bring up arianna's asshole...you people are going to cost me a fortune in therapy

Nona Yobiznes's picture

Because hurricanes never happened before the 20th century... really, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

The Wedge's picture

So what about the hurricanes before the industrial revolution? Spanish galleons sinking in massive storms in the Caribbean ring a bell? But don't let critical thought get in the way of your belief system, because that would just be tragic. Critical thought has no place when it comes to global warming.

ssgredux's picture

The only "manmade" component may be the Russian weather machine.

DjangoCat's picture

Dickweed, how about this one..

"The 1938 New England Hurricane (also referred to as the Great New England Hurricane and Long Island Express) was one of the deadliest and most destructive tropical cyclones to strike Long Island, New York and New England. The storm formed near the coast of Africa on September 9, becoming a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale before making landfall as a Category 3 hurricane[1] on Long Island on September 21. It is estimated that the hurricane killed 682 people,[2] damaged or destroyed more than 57,000 homes, and caused property losses estimated at US$306 million ($4.7 billion in 2017).[3] Damaged trees and buildings were still seen in the affected areas as late as 1951.[4] It remains the most powerful and deadliest hurricane in recorded New England history, eclipsed in landfall intensity perhaps only by the Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635.[5]"

Anteater's picture

Now the NY Times has searchable archives of 19thC newspapers,

back to the Civil War, with punishing nationwide droughts, killing

heat waves, devastating blizzards. The 20th Century of Oil & Gas

brought tremendous MODERATION of climate, spewing gold dust

across a land of barefoot pilgrims in sod huts with one milking goat

and 10 screaming ignorant kids, who would all become climate freaks,

pecking away on their O&G keyboard, from their $250,000 O&G condo,

with O&G fruit juice flown halfway round the world by O&G coldchain.

America is gonna disintegrate like a motherfucker, that's plain to see!

Signs and tribulations! Signs and tribulations! Signs and tribulations!

Anteater's picture

Actually, your AGW Godfather Arrhenius stated that 'carbonic acid

in water vapor (e.g. dissolved CO2) tends to MODERATE climate',

which is why Arrhenius was purged from the AGW Hall of Fame, 

after 18 years of no warming, and 10 years of no hurricanes. Your

whole Magic CO2 'hiding under the oceans' BS schtick is covfefe.

dlweld's picture

Well, ya gotta admit Arrhenius and his observations are a tad out of date - like 100 years - perhaps time to update your references lol

Sir Lars's picture

Perhaps after a few more years of illegal geo engineering that is ongoing...

dlweld's picture

Yeah - how long can they keep this super realistic hoax going? (sarc)

dlweld's picture

As a long time ZH’er I enjoy the articles and the free comments. But I do find an ironic aspect to the site – most articles are what some call “doom porn” and are totally alarmist – “Fed rates” “bubble this and bubble that” “war in the streets” etc etc.– but one major exception to the general alarmist tone is – climate change – oddly the one thng that is real and is worth getting alarmed about is totally regarded as business as usual and any concern is shouted down – I think big coal and big oil have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in sucking folks in – too bad.

bookofenoch's picture

Global warming is a fundraising hoax to tax the gullible lefties and enrich the overlords.

Peddle Algore(™) somewhere else

Sizzurp's picture

Hope this bitch turns north into open water.

slwsnowman40's picture

Oh god...here comes the fear porn.