After a tense few days of watching Irma and its forecast tracks, some of the effects of Irma are starting to reach us here. The eye of Irma is only just reaching the Florida Keys this morning, so this storm is pretty broad in reach. Pretty much all of Florida is going to be battered up by the hurricane.
The eastern coast managed to dodge what would have been a pretty catastrophic storm had it followed some of the earlier forecasts, but we’re not out of the woods yet. There are still warnings for strong winds, heavy rain, and flooding from rain and storm surge.
Charleston is already beginning to feel the effects on the periphery of this extremely large hurricane, as a pressure gradient has developed between a strong high pressure wedge centered over the Great Lakes and the very deep low pressure associated with Hurricane Irma. The interaction between the two pressure centers is driving gusty northeast winds across the area, similar to the effect one would feel standing between two large buildings.
The EarthWindMap website offers a pretty nice visualization of winds at different altitudes and lets you step through the GFS model to see how things might change over the model duration.
For the next couple of days, forecast shows surface winds that will push a lot of water toward the SC coast, causing a fair bit of flooding especially when combined with the already anticipated higher than usual tides.
I’m expecting a lot of rain and pretty windy conditions, but we’re far enough inland so surge related flooding isn’t a big concern. Fortunately the land around our subdivision is still largely undeveloped so there’s plenty of ground around us to soak up the rain water. I expect that will be gone over the next couple of years though, so the flooding probability might change.
Just a few more things to move around so they don’t get blown away, and then we see what Irma brings us.
It will be another two or three days before the forecast track becomes reliable enough to see what will happen here. In the meantime, we’re preparing things to either hunker down or leave depending on what happens with the forecast.