With Hurricane Irma shifting westward, the dreadful storm is getting closer to making landfall in southwestern Florida. Where is the massive storm projected to make landfall after the Keys?
By 5 p.m., the hurricane had made its second landfall along Marco Island and was five miles from Naples.
The hurricane, at 2 p.m., was 5 miles from Marco island off Florida’s southwest coast and only 19 miles from Naples. It was expected to make landfall in Naples within the hour.
Hurricane Irma made its first landfall in the U.S. in Cudjoe Key around 9:10 a.m., and was starting to move away from the lower Keys by 10. By early afternoon, it was getting very close. According to CNN, “the hurricane’s eyewall will move to Marco Island around 1:45 p.m. After that, it’ll move toward Naples.”
That news was announced by the National Hurricane Center, which wrote, “Hurricane #Irma makes landfall at Cudjoe Key in the lower Florida Keys.”
Three keys – Cudjoe, Big Pine Key and Summerland Key – were in the eye of the hurricane on Sunday morning.
The storm will almost certainly shift in a few hours to southwestern Florida, and most, such as CNN and Fox, are projecting that Irma will most likely make landfall again south of Sarasota. Projections include between Naples and Port Charlotte, Florida or between Naples and Sarasota or between Naples and other cities and areas like Marco Island and Fort Myers. No one knows 100 percent where. The commonality: Landfall in the area of Naples, south of Sarasota, and on the western coast of Florida, before the the center of the hurricane moves up to Tampa. Fox News on Sunday morning said, though, that the storm was “waffling” back and forth, and it was also possible it could make its second landfall in the Tampa area or even in the panhandle.
The National Weather Service’s Tampa, Florida office wrote on September 9: “#Irma is forecast to make landfall somewhere between Naples & Sarasota sometime Sun night & pass very near or over Tampa early Mon am. #flwx.”
According to the Associated Press, “Meteorologists predicted its center would blow ashore Sunday in the perilously low-lying Florida Keys, then hit southwestern Florida and move north, plowing into the Tampa Bay area.” At about 8 a.m., Irma’s eye was, in fact, over Key West.
“Florida’s southwest coast from Cape Sable to Captiva could see ‘catastrophic’ storm surge flooding of 10 to 15 feet,” CNN reported.
Here is a Florida city map:
According to USA Today, “The worst of Hurricane Irma is now forecast along the west coast of Florida after its track shifted overnight. Irma will act like a giant buzzsaw as it plows up the state’s west coast into Monday, battering cities such as Key West, Naples, Fort Myers, Sarasota, and the Tampa-St. Pete area with hurricane-force winds, torrential rain, and devastating storm-surge inundation.”
This is the hurricane’s location as of 10 a.m. Sunday:
SUMMARY OF 1000 AM EDT…1400 UTC…INFORMATION
ABOUT 25 MI…40 KM NE OF KEY WEST FLORIDA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…130 MPH…215 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…NNW OR 330 DEGREES AT 8 MPH…13 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…929 MB…27.43 INCHES
Live Science reported, “The hurricane is expected to make landfall in Florida 50 to 80 miles (80 to 130 km) west of Miami by Saturday night or Sunday morning, a westward shift from yesterday’s predictions that the eye of the storm would hit Miami directly, according to Jeff Weber, a meteorologist for the University Corporation of Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.” (Naples is 125 miles west of Miami). Everglades City and Marco Island are among other nearby communities on the western coast.
“Irma is projected to be at Category 4 strength when it makes landfall initially across the Keys and then southwest Florida on Sunday morning. Wind gusts past 140 mph in these areas could lead to a swath of catastrophic damage,” Accuweather reported.
There is now a hurricane warning for Fort Myers and Lee County and Port Charlotte in Charlotte County with a projection of hurricane conditions as early as Saturday night. Hurricane conditions “are expected” on Sunday and Sunday night.
This is the forecast from September 9 for Port Charlotte, which is an unincorporated community located in Charlotte County, Florida.
The local statement for Port Charlotte from the National Weather Service reported on the afternoon of September 9, “Hurricane Irma is moving toward the west along the north coast of Cuba with a turn to the northwest expected late today and then toward the north-northwest tonight or Sunday. On the forecast track, the center of the storm will be near the Florida Keys Sunday morning and then approach the southwest Florida coast Sunday afternoon.”
See Irma projected arrival times here:
Recent spaghetti models have tracked the shift to the west.
September 9 forecast cone from the National Weather Service:
See the updated weather page for Fort Myers here.
Weather.com reports these arrival times for Fort Myers, although be aware the National Weather Service now says hurricane conditions are also possible on Saturday.
“Naples/Ft. Myers, Florida
Peak storm surge forecast: 8 to 12 feet
High tide times (Naples): Sunday 3:02 a.m., 4:07 p.m.; Monday 3:40 a.m.
Tropical storm-force winds begin: Saturday evening
Hurricane-force winds begin: Late Sunday morning
Strongest winds, timing: Sunday night”
Lee County Emergency Management will be announcing more shelter openings soon. As of 9 a.m. Saturday, here is the current status of shelters, according to the county:
The following shelters are full:
Estero Recreation Center
Varsity Lakes Middle School
Island Coast High School
South Fort Myers High School
Space is available at other shelters open now:
East Lee County High School, 715 Thomas Sherwin Ave. Lehigh Acres
Harns Marsh MIddle School, 1820 Unice Ave. North Lehigh Acres
Oak Hammock Middle School, Fort Myers
These shelters will open at 10 a.m.:
Ray V. Pottorf Elementary, 4600 Challenger Blvd., Fort Myers
FGCU’s Alico Arena, 10501 FGCU Boulevard South, Estero
Germain Arena, 11000 Everglades Parkway, Estero
Pets are welcome at all shelters. Evacuees are reminded to bring crates or at least have pets on leashes. Germain Arena advises they do not have pet-sheltering capabilities. However, no one will be turned away from the shelter while capacity remains.”
Charlotte County opened two shelters in Port Charlotte and two in North Port:
Kingsway Elementary School – 23300 Quasar Blvd., Port Charlotte
Liberty Elementary School – 370 Atwater St., Port Charlotte
Heron Creek Middle School – 6501 W. Price Blvd., North Port
North Port High School – 6400 W. Price Blvd., North Port
In addition, Lee County expanded evacuation orders. As of Saturday:
Lee County expands mandatory evacuations
“Lee County Emergency Management has announced additional mandatory evacuations effectively immediately for Evacuation Zone B south of the Caloosahatchee in Fort Myers and Zone B south of Pine Island Road in Cape Coral.
A previous announcement put in place mandatory evacuations of Evacuation Zone A and portions of the Imperial River basin between East Terry, Bonita Beach Road and Interstate 75. That includes:
All of the barrier islands (Boca Grande/Gasparilla, Cayo Costa, Useppa, Cabbage Key, North Captiva, Captiva, Sanibel, Fort Myers Beach, San Carlos Island, Bonita Beach)
Cape Coral west of Burnt Store Road and south of Cape Coral Parkway, east of Del Prado Boulevard to Viscaya Parkway
North Fort Myers south of Bay Shore Road from Moody Road to State Road 31 and areas south of North River Road from State Road 31 to Fichters Creek.
Areas of Iona south of Maple Drive, west of U.S. 41
San Carlos Park west of U.S. 41,
Estero west of U.S. 41, north of the Estero River
Bonita Springs communities along Estero Bay and the Imperial River Basin.”