As hurricane Irma bears down on Florida, one of the largest mass exoduses in history is underway despite massive fuel shortages and supplies.
Thursday evening saw the storm tear through the Turks and Caicos Islands (population 31,000) on it’s curve North-east towards the Bahamas and Florida where the storm is expected to make landfall Saturday night.
As of noon Friday, the storm is still at Category 5 status having only been slowed in rotation by 10mph despite numerous mountain ranges and land obstacles that were expected to bring this storm down to a Category 4 prior to hitting the Keys.
That is no longer a certainty, as the storm has shown no signs of slowing significantly before making landfall with the U.S.
PRESS PLAY BUTTON ABOVE TO WATCH CURRENT IRMA TRACKING PROJECTIONS
Puerto Rico dodged a bullet, as the eye passed off the coast and spared them the hellish destruction experienced by St. Marteen and the Virgin Islands- despite almost a million Puerto Ricans left without power, potentially for up to six months, and major infrastructure damage and water shortages.
Puerto Ricos small northern islands Vieques and Culebra were not so lucky, taking the full brunt of the storm, with officials describing them as “devastated.”
As for the main island, a woman died in her home after “making contact with an electric wall socket,” a 79-year-old “bedridden” woman in Manatí died after she was taken to a hospital, and a man died after suffering a car accident in the municipality of Canóvanas while attempting to drive during the poor weather conditions, according to the Puerto Rico Governor’s Office.
Despite being spared Irmas fury those left in her wake now face the looming prospect of another two storms brewing to the south east. One of them, Hurricane Jose, is only a week and a half away.
Tropical Storm Jose is forecast to be upgraded to a hurricane on Wednesday evening. It’s following the same path as Irma and currently has wind strength of 70mph.Jose’s movement is expected to continued over the next couple of days, but there are no land hazards at the moment, say the National Hurricane Center (NHC)
“The next worry is the potential of this other Hurricane, Jose,” Cristina Salvesen, a dive instructor who weathered Irma in Vieques, told ABC News. “We’re keeping an eye on that and hope it doesn’t turn and hit us.”
Update: At 11 pm EDT Thursday, NHC issued Hurricane and Storm Surge Warnings for the south coast of the Florida peninsula from Bonita Beach around to Jupiter Inlet, including the Florida Keys. The Storm Surge Warning includes Lake Okeechobee.
FORECAST FOR IRMA AS OF FRIDAY NOON:
“The ridge of high pressure steering Irma turned out to be stronger than expected on Thursday, and forced the hurricane to move farther south than the models had been predicting. This resulted in a westward shift in the predictions for Irma’s turn to the north by Florida this weekend. As of 10 pm EDT Thursday, the latest available runs (12Z or 18Z) of all of our top models for tracking hurricanes—the European, GFS, HWRF, HMON, and UKMET—had Irma making landfall in South Florida Sunday morning, then turning north. All of the members of the high-probability cluster of the European model ensemble (Figure 2) also showed this track. The only ray of hope for South Florida could be found in the ensemble members of the 12Z GFS ensemble (Figure 3), which had a few members missing the peninsula. Since the average error in a 3-day forecast is 120 miles, it is important to remember that the models may still have additional shifts, and one must pay attention to the NHC cone of uncertainty! If you are in the cone of uncertainty, you are in danger of a direct hit.”
MAYOR GONZO MAYS Hurricane Irma Update 4:20pm:
During the evacuation process Florida Highway Patrol is slowing down the already slow moving evacuees by shooting radar. I suppose they must penalize the less than equal evacuating bastards.
GonzoToday has three staff members currently in Florida to witness the storm. Staff writer Donnie Casto and Publisher Kidman J. Williams will have reports of their experiences as they ride out the hurricane. GT correspondent Mayor Sammie “Gonzo” Mays is also fleeing from her home in Key West and will have much to say once this is all behind us and she is safely in her first class suite. Right now she must contend with the bourbon and cigar and rum situation in Florida as she tries to migrate North among the refugees.
GOD SAVE YOU ALL!