Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to a category 4 as sustained winds decreased to 150 mph. The system continues to track towards south Florida, with an increased confidence of making landfall. Life threatening winds in excess of 130 mph, storm surge, and dangerous rainfall threaten South Florida as we head into the weekend. Currently the storm is tracking through the Bahamas, impacting Turks and Caicos Islands through the day on Friday and into Saturday.
Weather models continue to show increased confidence on the track of Irma into the continental United States. Spaghetti models are fairly consistent that south Florida will see Irma by early Sunday morning.
The National Hurricane Center's track on this powerful storm shows the hurricane maintaining its category 4 status upon landfall. Once the storm begins to move north through the Florida peninsula winds will decrease rapidly, dropping to a category 1 by the time it reaches the panhandle. Winds at this time will be less than 95 mph.
Hurricane warnings are in effect for South Florida and the Keys until early Monday morning. Watches extend north towards Tampa on the west side of the state, and all the way up to Daytona Beach on the east side of the peninsula.
Along the path of Irma we can expect rainfall totals ranging from 8-15". Current models may be showing modest amounts and we could be tracking evening heavier totals as we head into the weekend.
Here in mid-Missouri we could see very minor impacts as Irma makes its track inland. The system looks to struggle to make it's way west, so we will likely only see increased cloud coverage as we head into Tuesday afternoon. Southeastern Missouri looks to hold only a slight chance for light rain showers.
Behind Irma the ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather Team continues to track Jose, another hurricane that is tracking through the Atlantic. Friday morning the storm held a category 4 status, but luckily for the U.S., will decrease in strength and will make it's track back out to the Atlantic, not coming close to the mainland. We will continue to monitor these rapidly changing conditions for both storm systems, keeping you updated on air and online.