Hurricane Irma could impact the U.S. mainland

Matthew Enfinger

Hurricane Irma could come into contact with the U.S. Eastern Shore in the coming weekend as the Category 3 hurricane continues to gain strength. Sources are urging areas in hurricane-prone areas to monitor the storm and have a hurricane plan in place.

According to The Weather Channel, Irma is located 625 miles east of the Leeward Islands and is moving west-southwestward at about 14 mph.

A hurricane watch has been issued for the Leeward Islands just southeast of Florida. The storm is expected to move west-southwest, then west-northwest during the next five days on the south side of a ridge of high pressure called the Bermuda High.

Into next weekend, forecast guidance indicates Irma will begin to turn more to the north toward the U.S.

From here the storm’s track varies from traveling offshore of the U.S. east coast, on to the U.S. Eastern main land or into the Gulf of Mexico.

“That “shift” puts many land masses in harms way from a dangerous #Irma & makes it much harder to shift away from USA. Do your prep now,” tweeted Jim Cantore, certified broadcast meteorologist.

Whether or not Irma will strike the U.S. is uncertain. This will depend on the strength and expansiveness of the Bermuda-Azores high over the Atlantic Ocean and the timing, depth and location of the southward dip in the jet stream near the eastern U.S.

Although it is too early to determine how Irma will impact the continental U.S. the Nation Hurricane Center (NHC) urges “everyone in hurricane-prone areas to have their hurricane plan in place as we are now near the peak of the [hurricane] season.”

The Weather Channel encourages all residents along the Eastern Shore and Gulf Coast to monitor the progress of Irma.

A hurricane tracker can be found here. The NHC, The Weather Channel and The George-Anne will continue to provide updates on Irma throughout the week.