ITS FLORIDA and MIAMI IS IN BIG TROUBLE
The United States is blessed with having for the generally benign near perfect type of climate conditions and the other weather conditions. The two large bodies of water along with the Gulf of Mexico consistently impact our weather usually in good ways. It is one the reasons why the US has some of the best soil in terms of growing any kind of agricultural product in the world. It also has the most varied daily weather or climate in the world as well. It is true that every region of world have has its own particular climate niche or strange kind of odd weather. In the U.S. for example we have more tornadic activity than any the place on the planet. When the West Coast weather patterns act up ...the coastal areas can get just deluged with rain and the Rockies and the Sierras get huge amounts of snow. On the East Coast many of our major metropolitan areas have to deal with potential for significant and sometimes huge snowfall and of course hurricanes.
In the Ukraine and Russian Steppes they grow tremendous amount of grain and often see severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. And they often see widespread heavy winter storms with severe cold. But they don't see hurricanes. The East Coast of China obviously sees hurricanes and the northern portions of the east coast of China also sees huge winter storms from time to time but they don't see nearly as much severe weather as the US sees .
The point is that US daily weather variability is often a blessing but sometimes it is a curse and what is about to happen to this country especially the Florida... a given what has happened to southeast Texas from hurricane Harvey... is nothing less than a historic disaster which will be talked about for years and years from now. The last time Miami saw a category 4 or 5 hurricane was the event known as the Miami hurricane in 1926. There was actually no detection about that massive hurricane that hit Miami but the city was a very small at the time. The good news here is that IRMA is not going to sneak up on anybody or any location and that there is enough time to get a lot of people out of the way in southern Florida. But let's be clear. This is going to be a catastrophe and it is hard to imagine / describe the amounts of devastation that faces Miami and probably Daytona Beach and significant damage in places such as Orlando and maybe Savannah GA ..if the forecast track holds
If we look at the satellite pictures from this evening and compare it to what we saw yesterday there is clearly some disruption from the close proximity of IRMA to the big island of hispaniola. But as you can see from the latest satellite picture as IRMA continues to pull away from the northern coast of Hispaniola ...there has been dramatic and quite noticeable improvement in the overall cloud structure of the system whether you are looking at IR or Dvorak or just a visible satellite picture
As of 5 EDT (21 UTC ), Irma has been Cat 5 storm for 66 consecutive hours. Satellite era record for N. Atlantic was 42 hours (Mitch, David).
As of 7:00 PM (th th th232UTC) IRMA has been a category 5 hurricane longer than any other tropical cyclone on the planet earth -- since we have been tracking these things. Just think about that for a minute
This image shows a comparison between category five hurricane Andrew in South Florida for 1992 and the size of th hurricane IRMA right now in the Bahamas. The comparison is well stunning. There are not enough words that I know to describe this.
If we look at the sea surface temperatures and the sheer winds ahead of the system as it approaches the Bahamas and South Florida ...we can see that the surface water temperatures are actually the warmest and the entire western hemisphere. This image shows the sheer and the sea surface temperatures . That brown color staff represents sea surface temperatures of 31-32C/ 86-88F which is just an amazing amount of fuel for this monster hurricane. And if you look at the share the green lines show ideal perfect atmosphere conditions for IRMA to maintain category 5 status all the way up into the South Florida.
There has been significant changes and a great deal of model consensus today especially this afternoon between the various global models and the hurricane models on the track of hurricane IRMA. The good news is that if you are in central and eastern North Carolina ...most of Virginia ...Maryland ..Delaware or any location further north ..the threat of IRMA impacting you in a significant way is much reduced. And as we show you the data you will see why.
For days there been comments from meteorologists ...weather hobbyists.. and what I call weather weenies complaining how the European model has been performing extremely badly and the GFS model has the kicking is butt and that the hurricane is coming up the coast etc etc etc . Now truth be told the European model seems to do really really well in the 72 to 180 hours - day 3 to day 7.5. Beyond 180 hours the European model is still pretty good but it does have bad ideas and bad forecast from time to time. Indeed if you go back to looks at 192 and 216 hours you will see that the European model consistently took IRMA close to the Southeast US coast curved IRMA out to sea.
However if we focus on that area I just mention above ... in the period from 72 to 180 hours we see he European model has been stellar. Here is the European model from September 3 valid September 10 - 180 hours. As you can see it does the hurricane east of Miami in the Bahamas. But if you look of the European ensemble MEAN you will see that from the evening of September 3 the European ensemble mean correctly forecasted IRMA entering the far southeast tip of Florida.
And the very next day on the morning of September 4 the operational European really latched onto a South Florida landfall with IRMA . Since that time ...the European model operationally and European ensemble mean has consistently favored South Florida landfall.
Meanwhile the GFS model has consistently taken IRMA further to the north than the actual track. This is a consistent problem with the GFS model because of this cold bias and we can see that bias when we compare the actual track of IRMA to the European and the GFS models.
This graph however says a lot. They consist shows that at 24 hours... 48 hours... 72 hours... 96 hours... 120 hours... the European model error rate is much smaller than d any of the models and therefore the most accurate. The numbers are indisputable and the graph speaks for itself. Right now this look like a huge win for the European model.
The fact we can see the shift of the GFS models towards the European model during the day today. This image shows the European ensemble mean and the 6Z GFS ensemble mean and we can see very strong agreement here between these two models.
Here is a comparison between the midday or 12Z GFS ensemble mean position valid on the morning of September 10 ( left) and the European model valid the same time 72 HRS
( right). The agreement is well stunning and extremely bad news for South Florida and Miami and probably the entire state of Florida except for the western panhandle.
This is the same image is valid 90 hours which takes us to early on morning of September 11. Again the the GFS ensemble mean is on the left and on the right side we have the European ensemble mean. The agreement is stunning.
In this next image we compare the hurricane models early on September 7 Thursday morning 1am (LEFT) to the 18z hurricane models which came out of 4:00 PM. ( RIGHT). The change in the shift here is dramatic. The early Thursday morning hurricane models had IRMA very close to southeastern Florida and Miami but then turned north and making landfall on the Georgia and South Carolina border or perhaps near Charleston South Carolina. From there the hurricane models took IRMA northwest taking her into upstate South Carolina and eastern Tennessee as a major rain storm. BUT the afternoon update / 18z hurricane models are clearly further to the west and closer to the Florida Coast. Many of them are now showing a direct impact into South Florida and Miami and a second landfall on Savannah Georgia... which would be extremely bad because of the shape of the GA coast and the track of the hurricane would send a huge surge of water into the the Georgia Coast.
IF we ASSUME that the eye of IMRA moves back over water north of Daytona Beach then central/ north Florida areas such would be on the western side of the hurricane that is over land and those areas would not see nearly as much wind. That is assuming that the hurricane models are going to hold and are not going to shift again
If you look of the 0z THURS GFS ensemble from early this morning and compared to the afternoon /18Z GFS ensembles data we can see a dramatic shift to the west as well. If you are unable to detect or see the significance of a shift between the GFS ensembles then you are probably an idiot and you need to stop reading.
Finally since the European model appears to be if the model of choice with mighty hurricane IRMA ...we can look of the projected wind field from the European model this afternoon. Here we notice that the hurricane force winds (dark red color) extends all the way up through Georgia ...almost to Atlanta and into northwest South Carolina into Greenville Spartanburg. The entire Florida peninsula according to this image hurricane force winds.
In fact if you break it down by 6 hour increments we can see that Miami sees hurricane force gusts as early as 2:00 AM on September 10 and the hurricane force winds do not leave Miami until 2:00 AM on September 11. That is a long time to its experiences Hurricane force winds... which speaks of the enormous impact of IRMA is going to have across Southern Florida.
If we assume that the track over the coast of Florida or through Central Florida ...moving over Orlando and Jacksonville is correct... IRMA would see significant steady weakening. IF for any reason IRMA was to bend to the NNE and make landfall say near Charleston SC or Wilmington Nc ... the dry air being pulled in from Tennessee Kentucky Alabama would continuously weaken IRMA even while the eye is over gulf stream. So IF there is a surprise turn to the NNE at the last second IRMA would l not be a category 4 hurricane if she makes a 2nd landfall.
INTERIOR SOUTHEAST US. .. Central and northern Georgia especially the eastern portions of Georgia as well as northwest half of South Carolina are going to see a lot of rain and strong winds on September 11. This also applies yo a lesser degree over western North Carolina Mts and much of central and eastern Tennessee. Certainly the rainfall amounts are going to be strong enough to produce flooding conditions especially in the valleys and flash flooding can be a serious problem as well. Central Georgia has been fairly dry over the past two weeks as has most of upstate South Carolina. But eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina over the last two weeks have seen anywhere from 150 to 250% above normal rainfall. Significant rains could also fall over the entire southwest third of Virginia.
For those in central and eastern North Carolina ...central and eastern Virginia and the Delmarva regions ...obviously this trend is good news for you but is too early to let your guard down. The data as of this Thursday evening is very clear that this region is not going experience any major impact from a hurricane IRMA. There is of course time for the data to change but I am pretty certain it will not. .
The only fly in the ointment that I see here is the influence of hurricane Jose in the Atlantic Ocean. This feature is going to sneak up and get fairly close to IRMA. If it does so it could help pull IRMA to the NNE at the last second and make a 2nd landfall closer to Myrtle Beach or perhaps Wilmington North Carolina. I don't think that is going to happen but it is not out of the question. If that were to happen obviously central and eastern North Carolina and central and eastern Virginia would see a lot more rain and lot more wind but even so IRMA would still see significant weakening