10:15 AM CDT | September 9, 2017
Hurricane Irma has weakened this morning with winds down to 125 mph as of 10:00 AM this morning. Pressure has also risen, which is indicative of weakening and a less organized core. Irma is still a dangerous Category 3 Hurricane with the potential for catastrophic damage. Once it moves away from Cuba, it will have an opportunity to re-intensify as it approaches Florida. Interaction with Cuba often weakens tropical systems, but as it tracks away from the country, I personally do not see any reason why it will not get better organized again, perhaps as early as this evening or tonight. The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center does call for re-intensification to a Category 4 Hurricane with winds peaking at 140 mph tomorrow. Depending on how quickly it begins to organize, winds could be higher than this. It will be monitored closely.
Regarding the track of Hurricane Irma, there has been a westward shift over the last 24 hours. It is now more likely to make landfall in Southwest Florida. There is a chance that it could remain offshore the western coast until it reaches the central or northern part of the state. Needless to say, if it were to be over water longer, it would be stronger for a longer period of time. Hurricane Irma is capable of producing significant to catastrophic damage in the state of Florida. As officials have been saying on the news, it is not a matter of if Florida will see damage, it is how bad the damage will ultimately be. In addition to Destructive Winds, Heavy Rain/Flooding, and Storm Surge, Tornadoes will be a hazard as well. The threat for Tornadoes will extend well north and east of the circulation. The National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center websites are the best weather sources for official information on Hurricane Irma - its forecast track, intensity, advisories, and more. Periodic updates will be posted by Texas Storm Watch on the blog, Facebook, and Google Play.