TAMPA, Fla. - Sunday afternoon thoughts on Irma from Chief Meteorologist Denis Phillips:
1. Irma is now moving North. Wobbles are common at this point, models are meaningless. If this North track continues, the eye will pass just to the East of Tampa.
2. Most everyone will experience hurricane force winds. The heaviest will be within a 20 mile radius of where the eye is.
3. Now, here's a bit of good news. I expect Irma to begin weakening once making landfall around Naples. High shear will likely bring her impacts in our area of winds between 90 and 100 mph with higher gusts. Category 2. There will be pockets of 120, but I believe those will be rather small by the time it reaches our area. Highest winds will be South as Irma will still be stronger at that point.
4. The Bay is nearly empty. This is something I have NEVER heard of. That water came out, and will come back in once the winds comes around. This will happen when the storm's center passes the Bay's latitude and the winds turn. Don;t be ANYWHERE near the Bay when this happens.
5. Remember, a Cat 5 is FIVE HUNDRED TIME stronger than a Cat 1. If we see a 2 or 3, it will be awful. Trees down. Power out. A big clean up, but most of us will be ok. I guess this is the price we pay for living in paradise.
6. Mobile home? Get to a shelter if you are within 20 miles of this eye. WATCH our station and look at radar. I can't stress this enough. THIS will be the highest danger. Most mobile homes can't handle these winds.
7. We're planned. We've prepared. We've stressed. Now, we're ready. Let's ride this thing out. Nothing breaks the spirit of this community. It's the most wonderful place I have ever lived. It's home. OUR home. We got this.