Irma strengthened Monday, and new forecast data suggests the major hurricane will approach South Florida this weekend. It was too soon to make or deny that call over the weekend, but confidence is increasing that the Category 3 storm will come very close, it not make a direct hit, on the Sunshine State in six to eight days.
Parts of South Florida will likely be in the National Hurricane Center’s five-day forecast path. The official forecast takes the Category 3 storm just north of the islands of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba through Friday. Beyond day five, reliable longer range forecast data suggests Hurricane Irma will make a sharp turn to the north near or over the peninsula of Florida. A credible forecast on when and where it makes that turn, along with how strong it will be is just not scientifically possible yet.
Emergency management officials and the National Hurricane Center have urged all Floridians who live in a hurricane prone area area, in particular those along both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of South Florida, to begin making plans that can be acted upon should full hurricane preparations be required later this week.