Hurricane Irma has torn through several Caribbean islands as a Category 5 storm, leaving complete destruction in her wake. The storm is currently located approximately 35 miles east of St. Thomas and is expected to hit the U.S. Virgin Islands tonight and into tomorrow. Irma is moving at about 14 mph.
The most recent GFS update has changed Irma’s path when it comes to her U.S. approach. The current models — both GFS and Euro — show Irma favoring a northeast trend. This means that she could make landfall somewhere in Georgia or South Carolina. As she moves up the east coast, Irma will weaken, but she will still bring extreme winds and heavy rain to cities and towns in her path.
As you can see in the GFS graphic below, Irma is going to pack quite the punch in both North and South Carolina if this is indeed the route she takes.
By Sunday morning, North Carolina and the Outer Banks will start seeing an increase in wind speed. Rain will move into the area on Monday. The heaviest rain is expected on Monday afternoon and into Tuesday. The storm is expected to move out of the area by Wednesday.
Residents in North Carolina have been paying close attention to the weather, especially now that Irma’s projected path has changed.
“You can never be too prepared for an emergency. We know from Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Harvey that storm tracks can shift quickly and that’s why North Carolina isn’t waiting to get ready. These tropical systems can pack a powerful punch and those who are prepared ahead of time will fare better,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.
The governor in North Carolina, Roy Cooper, has declared a state of emergency, effective as of 8 a.m. Thursday.
“It is not too soon to get ready,” Cooper said. “Irma is a powerful storm.”