Hurricane Irma hits Puerto Rico, stays on track for Florida

- An extremely dangerous Hurricane Irma smashed northern Caribbean islands Wednesday morning and moved over Puerto Rico in the evening leaving thousands of islanders without food, water and electricity.  

As one of the strongest storms recorded in the Atlantic, it is also on a path to hit parts of the British Virgin Islands. 

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal all declared a state of emergency to help prepare for a possible strike early next week from Hurricane Irma.

Related: Hurricane Irma hits Puerto Rico, thousands without water, electricity

Irma is expected remain a Cat 5 until it slides between the Bahamas and Cuba, the interaction with the islands will cause It to weaken to a Cat 4. As of now, Irma is expected to turn right and head north into the bottom of Florida near Miami as a Cat 4.  Past this point the track becomes a little less confident, but most models continue to bring it north along the east coast of Florida. The impact will be felt in Florida over the weekend.

The latest track has Irma sliding back into the Atlantic just off the Florida coast Monday morning. Some of the models have Irma coming on shore in southern SC and others take it farther north & east into southern NC. The GFS and Euro are both going with a GA/SC border landfall. The NHC is buying into this thought as well keeping it a major hurricane just off the GA coast.

RelatedSouth Carolina declares state of emergency ahead of Irma

We will see some impact here, but the exact track will make a world of difference in the end result for our area. Right now, we are looking at a late Monday or Tuesday time period for the Carolinas.

Again – it is still too early to say where Irma will hit with any confidence. The bottom line is the Charlotte area will see some impact from the storm early next week.

The severity of the impact is still up in the air but it is important to talk about a plan in case of a worst case scenario. 

Related: 'Monster' storm: When will Hurricane Irma turn?

The FOX 46 Weather Team is keeping a close eye on Irma, tracking the hurricane’s progress and potential impact on the Carolinas.

Irma is coming off the heels of Harvey, which caused massive damage and severe flooding in southeast Texas. Harvey dropped historically high rainfall amounts that caused catastrophic flooding in the Houston area and other parts of the Lone Star State.

These aren’t the only hurricanes the U.S. has experienced this season, and the season is far from over. Here is a look at the season so far.

2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season So Far…

The 2017 hurricane season has already been one to talk about and we are not even half way through! So far, we have seen 8 named storms with the first one developing back in April. Most of the cyclones this season have remained in the tropical storm category, but four of the storms strengthened to hurricane status with two becoming a major hurricane.

Atlantic Hurricane Season

Tropical Storm Highlights…

It has not only been an active season; we’ve also seen some significant events. The most recent and memorable storm of 2017 was Harvey. This Cat 4 hurricane caused catastrophic damage and record breaking flooding over southeast Texas. After spinning over Texas for a few days, Harvey moved back into the Gulf near Louisiana. Harvey then made one more final turn to the north and eventually making a second landfall in SE Louisiana. This storm will definitely go down in the history books.

NOAA Hurricane Map

*First major hurricane to hit the US since Wilma in 2005
*First Category 4 storm to make landfall in Texas since Carla in 1961
*First Category 4 storm to make landfall in the US since Charley in 2004

Harvey wasn’t the only big talker this season! Here is a look at a few more highlights.

Arlene

*Tropical Storm Arlene developed on April 19th in the northern Atlantic Ocean. This was the first     tropical storm to develop in April since Ann in 2003. Arlene was one of two storms ever recorded in April and was the stronger of the two.

Arlene

*In mid-June a rare low-latitude tropical storm developed and struck the Island of Trinidad. Bret was the earliest storm to form in the in the Main Development Region on record. It was the lowest latitude named storm since 1933 for the month of June.

Hurricane BrettPhoto Courtesy: Weather Underground

*Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall around the Texas and Louisiana border on June 22. This was the first tropical cyclone to strike Louisiana since Hurricane Isaac in 2012.

Hurricane Track

*Franklin became the first hurricane of the season on August 9th.  After crossing over the Yucatan Peninsula as a tropical storm, Franklin quickly intensified to hurricane status in the Bay of Campeche. It only lasted about 5 hours before making landfall in Mexico and weakening rapidly.

Hurricane Track

We are approaching the peak of hurricane season on September 10, but it doesn’t officially end until November 30. The first half has been pretty active, let’s hope the second half is much quieter!

Be sure to follow FOX 46 Charlotte on Facebook and Twitter for the latest on Irma's track and intensity. Now is a good time to download the FOX 46 Weather App to receive instant alerts about the storm. You can also download the FOX 46 News App for breaking news alerts. 

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