Weather

Two days ago – when Hurricane Irma was forecast to hit Miami directly as a Category 5 storm – Miami-Dade County was staring at a potential storm surge of 10 feet. Now that Irma’s path has shifted west to Florida’s Gulf coast, the surge is expected to be half that.

But Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is warning that’s still enough to cause not just dangerous flooding but drowning – especially since South Florida may well experience the equivalent of Category 1 or 2 hurricane winds when Irma arrives early Sunday.

Hurricane Irma's leading edges whipped palm trees and kicked up the surf as the storm spun toward Florida with 120 mph winds Saturday on a projected new track that could put Tampa — not Miami — in the crosshairs.

Tampa has not taken a direct hit from a major hurricane in nearly a century.

WUFT

Widespread and prolonged power outages will become part of life for most Floridians over the next few days as Hurricane Irma has started to make an anticipated northern turn that will result in a destructive run through the state starting Sunday.

Image: NOAA

Powerful Hurricane Irma is racing toward a direct impact with South Florida by early Sunday. Forecasters say the storm poses a “potentially catastrophic threat” to the Florida Keys and other parts of our state, with hurricane and storm surge warnings and watches already in effect on both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.

South Florida came under a hurricane watch Thursday. That meant Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez got briefed on Hurricane Irma’s storm surge potential - and the data Gimenez heard prompted him to broaden the county’s area of mandatory evacuation.

Irma could hit Miami directly Sunday morning with destructive Category 4-force winds. As a result, Gimenez had already ordered a mandatory (but voluntary) evacuation for residents closest to shore – Zone A.

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