1. Weather

Gov. Scott urges Floridians to pay attention to Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma is back up to a Category 3 storm with 115 mph maximum sustained winds and expected to get stronger, predicted the National Hurricane Center's 5 a.m. advisory. The storm is moving west-souhtwest, but expected to turn west on Monday. NOAA
Published Sep. 4, 2017

Hurricane watches were posted Sunday for the northern Leeward Islands as concern grew that Irma, a Category 3 storm, could affect the U.S. East Coast.

Irma was projected to strengthen, adding more worry to a hurricane season that has already left much of the Texas coast battered and flooded by Hurricane Harvey.

In a pair of tweets Sunday, Gov. Rick Scott urged Floridians to be prepared:

"As we continue to monitor Hurricane Irma, families should make sure their Disaster Supply Kits are ready today.

"FL knows how important it is to be prepared. Encourage your loved ones to have a plan ahead of any potential storm.''

Where, or if, it would hit Florida or the United States was uncertain.

The National Hurricane Center's 11 p.m. Sunday advisory projected Hurricane Irma to be a major storm in the eastern Bahamas by Friday. On its forecast track, the storm would affect the northern Leeward Islands at midweek; it could be north of Haiti by Thursday night.

"There are several models that do indicate that somewhere along the east coast of Florida could be some impacts," said 10Weather WTSP meteorologist Ashley Batey.

If it does make landfall in the United States, Batey said, the Carolinas are likely candidates, but at eight or nine days out, much could change.

In Vero Beach, residents were stocking up on supplies at a Lowe's Home Improvement Store, the Treasure Coast Newspapers reported.

David Yates, 42, of Vero Beach got two propane canisters, and several store customers wheeled by with shopping carts containing 5-gallon gasoline cans.

"You can't take a chance," said Yates, an automotive technician.

NOAA's Hurricane Hunter aircraft, based at Lakeland, investigated Irma on Sunday. At 11 p.m., the storm was moving west southwest about 14 mph. Maximum sustained winds were 115 mph with higher gusts, the hurricane center said. Some strengthening is expected over the next 48 hours, the hurricane center said.

Hurricane watches were posted for the northern Leeward Islands, where the hurricane could cause "dangerous wind, storm surge and rainfall" for those islands, the hurricane center said.

Batey noted that regardless of what happens with Irma, hurricane season is only halfway over. Farther east in the Atlantic, another tropical wave was brewing. If it becomes a tropical storm, its name would be Jose.

"We still have the rest of September and October — the peak months," Batey said. "If not this one, it could be the next.

Times staff writer Paul Guzzo contributed to this report.

HURRICANE GUIDE & TRACKER: Watch Irma's path here and find storm resources

TAMPA BAY IS DUE: The region is not prepared for a major hurricane

LOCAL FORECAST: What to expect through Labor Day


  1. Hurricane Jerry is expected to begin moving to the north on Saturday. A tropical wave is expected to develop off the coast of Africa over the weekend. National Hurricane Center
    The system is expected to produce heavy rainfall and flash floods in the eastern Caribbean.
  2. Atlantic tropical cyclones and disturbances, as of 11 a.m. Thursday. National Hurricane Center
    It is projected to pass north of Puerto Rico on Saturday and east of the southeastern Bahamas on Sunday.
  3. Atlantic tropical cyclones and disturbances, as of 5 a.m. Thursday. National Hurricane Center
    The system should stay well east of the United States, according to forecasters.
  4. Tropical Storm Jerry is expected to become reach hurricane status on Friday. National Hurricane Center
    Forecasters expect the storm to reach hurricane status on Friday.
  5. Vehicles splash through heavy water filling Chimney Rock, south of Brays Bayou in Houston, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. Officials in the Houston area were preparing high-water vehicles and staging rescue boats Tuesday as Tropical Storm Imelda moved in from the Gulf of Mexico, threatening to dump up to 18 inches of rain in parts of Southeast Texas and southwestern Louisiana over the next few days. MARK MULLIGAN  |  AP
    The main threat from Imelda remained the potential for heavy rainfall and flooding.
  6. The tropical outlook on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2019. National Hurricane Center
    The depression is expected to become Tropical Storm Jerry by early Wednesday, then strengthen to a hurricane by the weekend.
  7. Hurricane Humberto's projected path as of 5 a.m. Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. National Hurricane Center
    It could become a major hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
  8. The forecast track for Hurricane Humberto, as of 5 a.m. Monday. National Hurricane Center
    The Category 1 hurricane is moving away from the southeastern United States and expected to approach Bermuda by Wednesday night.
  9. Mos Antenor, 42, drives a bulldozer while clearing the road after Hurricane Dorian Mclean's Town, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) RAMON ESPINOSA  |  AP
    Threatening to exacerbate islands’ problems, Humberto’s rains were falling on Abaco island.
  10. Members of the fire rescue team Task Force 8, from Gainesville, Florida, help remove a body one week after Hurricane Dorian hit The Mudd neighborhood in the Marsh Harbor area of Abaco Island, Bahamas, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Dorian, the most powerful hurricane in the northwestern Bahamas' recorded history, has killed at least 44 people in Bahamas as of Sunday, Sept. 8, according to the government. GONZALO GAUDENZI  |  AP
    Many in the northwestern Bahamas, known for its casinos, golf courses and mega yachts, worry they will be forced into deep poverty.