Tracking Irma's potential impact on the Tri-Cities region
Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys this Sunday morning as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, as shown above. That radar image was taken around 9:10 AM Sunday morning, at the reported landfall time.
The track has been shifting west since Thursday night, making the Florida Keys and southwest Florida the focal points Sunday and Monday. The cone below indicates the possibility of where the storm center will be. Hurricanes tend to wobble a bit, which can lead to changes in impacts.
By and large, dangerous wind gusts and storm surge will be the main threats from Cape Sable, through Naples and Fort Myers, and up to Tampa on Sunday and early Monday.
The question here is: how will that impact us? Irma will be nowhere near as strong by the time it starts impacting us Monday night and Tuesday. Since the track keeps shifting south and west, our impacts continue to look less dire and more of just a nuisance for some.
By Monday night and Tuesday morning, some spots will see tropical storm-force wind gusts of about 40 mph. The better chance of that is in the higher elevations on the TN-NC line. A Wind Advisory is in effect Monday afternoon through Tuesday.
Where do we stand now?
Flooding won't be a huge threat, as easterly and southeasterly winds will cut into rain totals in NE TN/SW VA. An inch or more of rain is fair game in the TN-NC mountains. Even still, 4" of rain is needed over a 24 hour period for flash flooding to be a widespread threat.
Tropical storm-force (39 mph or greater) wind gusts are fair game Monday night into Tuesday, with the higher threat being in our eastern mountains. We may see some downed trees and/or sporadic power outages, but even that doesn't look to be a long-lasting threat. Think of this is one of these gusty wind set-ups that we typically see in late fall after a cold front.
You might want to secure loose belongings, just in case, and take caution when driving a high-top vehicle on the highways/interstates near the mountains.
Lastly, the threat of tornadoes is very low for us.
Make sure that you stay in touch with us over the next few days, as we continue to track Irma's whereabouts.