Florida will likely take direct hit from Irma with devastating impacts
A threat of rainfall flooding and strong winds capable of triggering power outages, downing trees and perhaps some structural damage will likely occur to some degree well inland from wherever Irma tracks in relation to Florida and the Southeast this weekend into early next week.
Irma has the potential to produce devastating impacts in parts of southern Florida starting this weekend.
There is the potential for life-threatening storm-surge inundation along coastal areas north and east of Irma's path. Hurricane-force winds that are capable of causing structural damage and widespread power outages will also occur. Flooding rainfall and isolated tornadoes could also be concerns.
That National Hurricane Center (NHC) says that water inundation could be 5 to 10 feet above ground level in South Florida if peak surge coincides with high tide.
The official forecast path from the NHC shows that Irma's center could track along either side of the Florida Peninsula. Where Irma turns north on Saturday or Sunday will be critical for determining what parts of southern, central and northern Florida experience the most dangerous impacts from Irma.
In the event that Irma goes up the peninsula of Florida, tropical-storm-force winds might reach both the west and east coast of Florida. ■