HOLT, Fla., Aug. 31, 2017–Tropical Storm Irma appears to be surrounded by ideal conditions for it to grow into a major hurricane in the next few days.
Predictions by the National Hurricane Center is for Irma to reach hurricane strength sometime today and reach major category strength sometime within the next five days.
Hurricane strength is determined by the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. According to the scale, a hurricane reaches major category when sustained winds reach 111 mph. However, the NHC classified Harvey a major storm when its sustained winds reached 110 mph.
According to the NHC, the environment ahead of Irma appears to be mostly favorable for intensification, with little wind shear.
The only noticeable inhibiting factor, according to the NHC, is slightly drier mid-level air in two-to-five days, but will probably not deter future strengthening.
Most hurricane models show a west-northwestward track for the next day or so, before turning toward a slightly south of westward heading in a couple of days, according to the NHC.
Through this afternoon
The NHC has issued its last advisory on what’s left of Harvey. Residual rains will continue throughout the Florida panhandle, sometimes heavy at times.
Additional rainfall amounts of 1-to-3 inches are likely with locally higher amounts up to 5 inches are possible, mainly across the western Florida panhandle this morning with rain diminishing in the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Mobile.
Excessive rainfall in a short amount of time could quickly lead to flash flooding along roads, creeks, streams and low-lying areas.
Because of this, the NWS Mobile has issued a flood advisory until 9:30 a.m. and a flood watch through this afternoon.