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A massive spinning cloud mass between Cuba and the Bahamas.
Information icon Hurricane Irma image from space. NOAA/NASA.

Irma aims at Keys, Georgia, Alabama

Hurricane Irma is headed toward the Florida Keys and the south-central part of the state. Its winds are at 130 mph, but it’s expected to gain strength over the water.

Irma should be a category 4 tempest, with winds at 150 mph, when it makes landfall around 8 a.m. Sunday.

A map showing the projected path of Hurricane Irma and USFWS field stations.
Hurricane Irma forecasted path. Map by Roy Hewitt, USFWS.

Already, say meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center, south Florida is experiencing 30 mph wind gusts.

From the Keys, Irma should head steadily north. Naples, Fort Myers, Tampa – each will be within or under the storm’s eye.

Irma is expected to be in Tampa Monday around 2 a.m., a category 3 storm with 120 mph winds.

The storm is projected to lessen its intensity as it heads up the state. By the time it reaches Perry, in Florida’s panhandle, Irma should be a category 1, with winds at about 85 mph.

As it whirls west into Georgia, say meteorologists, Irma should dwindle to a tropical storm. It is projected to tilt to the north and west, passing Columbus, Georgia, as it heads toward a spot between Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama. Earlier forecasts had Irma passing over metro Atlanta.

Atlanta will not be spared. The city’s metro area should be visited by 40 mph winds, with gusts of 60 mph. The wind is expected to be most intense north and east of Atlanta.

Irma will bring rain as well as wind. Its storm surge is estimated between 5 to 12 feet. Rain totals will be anywhere between 10 and 20 inches.


Mark Davis, Public Affairs Specialist

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