It’s not political news, but it is news, and the big kind. Florida is taking a beating overnight (at the time of this writing it is 3 a.m.) as Hurricane Irma, now a Cat 4 storm again, has finally made it’s northerly turn and the outer bands are bringing wind, rain, and ocean ashore in South Florida.
— NWS Tampa Bay (@NWSTampaBay) September 10, 2017
From the Weather Channel:
Hurricane Irma, now a Category 4 hurricane, is spreading tropical storm conditions and gusts near hurricane force across the Florida Keys, is less than 6 hours from a potentially catastrophic hurricane strike on Florida – the state’s strongest hurricane strike since Charley, 13 years ago.
“Nobody in Florida is going to escape its wrath,” said one Weather Channel anchor in the last hour.
Sustained winds at this time are at 140 mph. Gusts are even higher. Waves off the coast of Miami and Key West are over 40 feet.
The Keys are already without electricity entirely, and some mainland counties, leaving (at 3 a.m.) an estimated 300,000+ customers without power. The storms around this storm’s edges have already spawned a tornado and dozens of tornado watches are in effect.
The eye and eyewall are still well out at sea right now, but will be much closer to the shore by the time you read this. Even so, the force of the storm is already apparent.
Street signs twisting in the wind. Irma's eye still 100 miles away
— ᴅʀᴇᴡ ᴡᴇsᴛʜᴀᴜs (@drewesthaus) September 10, 2017
— News4JAX (@wjxt4) September 10, 2017
Note the time stamps. Irma was still far away when these videos were shot.
The entire state of Florida, every county, is currently under a hurricane warning. The storm, 500 miles across, much larger than Florida. The strong westward tack means it may go back offshore after hitting the keys Sunday morning and make landfall again near Tampa later Sunday night. Tropical storm warnings are up into Georgia and a Tropical Storm Watch extends north of Atlanta. Hurricane force winds are expected to go deep inland and far north.
Don’t get me wrong, there will be politics attached to this. Money, government aid, climate change. We see it already. But right now the news is the massive, deadly storm moving into and over Florida, leaving destruction in its wake. The storm that ravaged the Caribbean. It’s rolling in right now. I hope you and your loved ones are safe.
CNN meteorologist just now: "This is an incredible system. It's almost beyond words right now." #HurricaneIrma
— Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) September 10, 2017
And whether you’re reading this at three in the morning or nine a.m., say a prayer for my birth state. There’s a lot of crazy in and from Florida, but it’s our crazy. I’m kind of attached to the place.