As of 1100AM AST (1100 UTC) today, Tropical Storm Irma developed to hurricane strength, Category 2 within mere hours of its earlier status as a tropical storm this morning. This shows very rapid intensification.
As per the latest data issued by NOAA, the center of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 16.9 North, longitude 33.8 West. Irma is moving toward the west north west at 10 mph (17 km/h). The system is expected to continue on this trajectory through into Friday. Hurricane Irma is expected to follow a more westward motion on Saturday.
Last reported sustained winds are 100 mph (155 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma’s hurricane winds are extending up to 15 miles (30 km/h) from its center and its tropical-storm-force winds are extending outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from its center. Irma’s minimum central pressure is now at 979 mb (28.91 inches).
Using this data, hurricane watchers can use Ventusky’s service to ascertain Hurricane Irma’s trajectory in the following days.
Anticipated Hurricane Strength
Irma was initially expected to gear up to a Category 2 hurricane by early Friday morning but she has beat all expectations and is now clearly on her way to becoming a major hurricane force Category 3 hurricane by later tonight. All this, at least 18 hours ahead of anticipated strengthening.
While this system is causing much anxiety throughout the Lesser Antilles, the tropical storm system has many meteorologists alert. Some meteorologists expect this system to reach a Category 4, perhaps even a 5.
How Tropical Storm Irma Relates to Dominica
So far, Dominica was on a direct path of the forecast line up to the latest reports. However, this morning, forecasts indicate a slightly lower path over the island of Martinique. Therefore, ALL interests in the Lesser Antilles are advised to follow this system very carefully and stay on the highest alert. The system is expected to make landfall by Wednesday of next week – September 06, 2017.
Though there are no official warnings or watches in effect at the present time, Breezes Cottage would currently advise any guests who are staying with us on or around September 04 through to 07, 2017 and all persons concerned in Dominica to begin planning for a hurricane, even with the possibility that Irma changes its course.
Fore-warnings for Dominica
Residents and citizens are forewarned to begin planning for the possible arrival of a hurricane of at least Category 3 strength and possibly a Category 4 or 5 strength. These strengths pose a serious danger to life and home. Due to the apparent severity of this oncoming system, which appears to be developing into a hurricane of devastating proportions, it is strongly advised that persons must put a hurricane plan in place and to know the best locations for sitting out extreme weather.
For the time being, we would advise the following:
- Know the locations of your closest evacuation centers.
- Start making plans to evacuate your residence or area as soon as the local authorities advise you to do so.
- Ensure that water and food stocks are in good order. If not, do a shopping list and stock up as soon as possible.
- Ensure that your stocks of necessary batteries and other supplies for surviving extreme weather are within your grasp. If not, add these to your shopping list.
- Ensure that your phones, cell phones, smart devices and satellite devices are in good working order.
- Purchase portable chargers or compact external batteries for your cell phones, smart devices and other equipment. Keep them charged at all times until the increment weather arrives.
- Follow all public announcements made by your local authorities.
At this moment, we do not think that it is advisable to wait until official warnings and watches are in effect. By those times, it is often too late to get all the necessary or adequate supplies as supermarkets are full and tension is high. Access to materials for boarding up homes and buildings is also difficult or poses challenges.
Also factor in the time it would take you to board up all windows and to secure door openings and to build sufficient protection against rising waters. It is much better to be ready, even if a hurricane or storm changes course and spares our island.