Hurricane Irma burst into the Florida Keys very early this morning with coastal inundation and vicious winds. When word finally gets out - there's often a long period of silence after landfall due to a lack of communication - it's likely to be dire for many. As the storm continued its rampage across the west coast of Florida, it weakened to a Category 2 hurricane. While this may have been a better outcome than a Cat. 4 or 5, it's still no picnic, and there's still a long night ahead for most of the Florida peninsula.
Winds do mean a lot in a hurricane, but since Irma is ramping down from a frenzied state, it still has a penchant for nasty winds and life-threatening storm surge. The idea here is that while it was a Cat 4/5, it built up the sea water, it encircled the eye wall with intense thunderstorms, and it spun up numerous tornadoes and water spouts. All of that doesn't just collapse when the wind speeds drop. It takes several hours - sometimes days to diminish. And therein lies the problem...and the danger for all of Florida.
Over the next few days, the storm WILL unravel and decay, becoming a "remnant low" near Memphis by midweek. In the meantime, our weather remains solidly anchored under high pressure (which coincidentally is feeding dry air into the hurricane and further weakening it). Sunny skies and warm afternoons are in our immediate future - at least through midweek. In this time of need for two separate areas of our country, please keep those who are less fortunate in your thoughts. Donations and support will go a long way in the coming weeks and months.