(FOX 46 WJZY) - Hurricane Irma has weakened to a Category 2 storm, technically losing its major hurricane status, after making landfall in southwestern Florida. It is hugging the coast as it moves north.
The National Hurricane Center said Irma's winds were at 110 mph (177 kph), just below major hurricane status, as the center of the still dangerous and wide storm moved farther inland late Sunday afternoon. It was smacking Naples after coming ashore in Marco Island at 3:35 p.m.
The hurricane center says "although weakening is forecast, Irma is expected to remain a hurricane at least through Monday morning."
The center says the eye of Irma should hug Florida's west coast through Monday morning and then push more inland over northern Florida and southwestern Georgia Monday afternoon.
Nearly the entire state of Florida is under a hurricane warning. The good news is while it interacts with land the storm will be weakening as it works into Northern Florida. Expectations are by the time it moves into Georgia it will weaken to a tropical storm Monday evening and a depression by Tuesday morning.
Impacts in the Carolina's have continued to drop, but we are still expecting some nasty weather from Irma. Winds will start to increase tomorrow morning up to 20 mph and will peak Monday evening with winds over 30 mph. A few winds could gust over 40 mph at times Monday night and could cause some spotty power outages, but major black outs aren't expected.
Rain will pick up intensity during the afternoon/evening Monday night and continue through Tuesday morning. Rainfall amounts will range from 1-3 inches with 2-5 inches in the Mountains.
All in all this looks like a blessing for the Carolina's with the worst of the storm staying in Central Georgia.
To watch the 8 p.m. update on Hurricane Irma, mobile users click here.
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.
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.
*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.
*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.
*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.
P Photo 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.
*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.
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.