The concern is increasing for Hurricane Irma to impact the Florida and even into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend and into next week.
Latest Information on Irma
At 11 am AST on September 5, 2017, Hurricane Irma had sustained winds of 180 mph. With a west/northwest track, Irma is taking aim on San Jan, and the Dominican Republic. With this track, Irma will very impact the mainland US with a significant concern to Florida at this time.
With the interaction of the islands, Irma is expected to weaken to sustained winds of 150 mph Saturday morning while impacting Cuba. But even at 150 mph, Irma will still be a Category 4 Hurricane (Note a Category 5 hurricane starts is wind speeds of 157 mph and greater). Irma is expected to impact southern Florida by Saturday Night/Sunday Morning.
What Is Confidence in Irma’s Forecast?
There is still uncertainty in the track and intensity of Irma. A major player is the storm system that will move across the eastern US later this week. That system will help steer Irma. So there are questions of how quickly will Irma interact with that system to start a re-curve north. The graphic below shows several model solutions. We evaluate if the models are showing similar paths to increase our confidence with a track forecast. The number of models showing Irma’s re-curve north across Florida is concerning.
In addition to destructive winds, VERY heavy rainfall is a concern with Irma. Through next Tuesday Florida could see widespread 7+ inches of rain which will lead to flooding.
What Livestock owners should start doing today
Livestock owners in Florida and even eastern Gulf of Mexico, prepare NOW for a strong Hurricane to impact you this weekend and even into early next week.
Actions to consider to prepare for Irma
- IF you have livestock in low lying areas identify where you can move them to minimize the chance of them being trapped in a flooded pasture.
- If you are near the coast or a Bayou, do you know your flood risk from storm surge?
- If you experience inland flooding, do you know if you are in/near the 100yr flood plain? We saw flooding well into areas that are considered 500year flood plain with Harvey. Irma could cause VERY heavy rainfall so significant inland flooding is possible.
- Will you have enough help on the farm/ranch to respond to the storm – consider having workers stay on site before the storm begins. Do you have enough food, water, sleeping arrangements for them to stay on the ranch?
- Will you need extra gas for chain saws in case you have tree/brush damage?
- Will you need to evacuate? If you are a direct hit or at risk from storm surge, you may need to evacuate. Do you have items ready to go including contact information, important numbers, copies of insurance, etc. as well as a plan on where you will go?
For other tips on preparing for and recovering from hurricanes on your ranch, Texas AgriLife has some good information.
The team at WxIntegrations will continue to provide relevant information and resources to help you better understand and prepare by incorporating weather impacts into your planning and response.
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