Florida's West Coast in Irma's Crosshairs as Track Shifts

Sunday, 10 September 2017, 07:22:10 AM. Hurricane Irma shifted track and took aim at southwestern Florida, raising the risk of severe damage in Tampa and other cities facing the Gulf of Mexico, in what could end up being the most expensive storm in U.S. history.
Hurricane Irma shifted track and took aim at southwestern Florida, raising the risk of severe damage in Tampa and other cities facing the Gulf of Mexico, in what could end up being the most expensive storm in U.S. history. President Donald Trump discussed round-the-clock preparations now under way with his Cabinet, calling Irma “a storm of enormous destructive power.” With top winds of 125 miles (201 kilometers) an hour, the deadly storm is expected to strike the Florida Keys Sunday morning then follow the state’s Gulf Coast north, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory around 5 p.m. New York time. At Category 3, Irma is expected to regain strength later Saturday. Rob Miller, a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania, said a track “near or just to the west is almost, if not, a worst-case scenario for Tampa Bay,” said “It shoves all the water into Tampa Bay and then shoves it right into downtown.” The storm has left at least 22 people dead and thousands homeless across the Caribbean, and threatens to rack up as much as $200 billion in damages. Irma’s anticipated northern turn has just begun, raising the threat to Florida’s west coast while potentially sparing Miami a direct hit. Now about 115 miles southeast of Key West, Irma could pass over the island city sometime after 7 a.m. local time Sunday as a Category 4, said Alan Reppert, a meteorologist with AccuWeather. It will then continue up the coast making a second landfall between Fort...Read more
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