Hurricane Irma is a powerful category five hurricane which will impact southern Florida directly this weekend.
Irma is not only deep/strong as measured by the related central pressure/wind speed but it is also large with a eye wall measuring about 25 miles in diameter. So in terms of overall power placed over a given surface area, this storm is a monster.
Everyone watches the forecast track of a hurricane. If I’m in Florida, I would assume the worst. Does the exact track matter in terms of impact? You bet. A hurricane of this intensity and size which strikes southeast Florida (Miami) from the south or southeast would put the maximum wind speed and surge into a very high population area.
On the other hand, if Irma ends up turning north over western or central Florida, someone will get that same impact. Also, no matter which coast the storm tracks along, just about all of Florida will be in hurricane force winds or greater.
This morning, increasing wind shear is weakening the forward portion of Irma which means it could weaken a tad today. On the other hand, very warm water is sitting south and southeast of Florida. I don’t see anything that would weaken Irma significantly by the weekend, a category four or five storm is still likely.
— NWS Tampa Bay (@NWSTampaBay) September 7, 2017