Florida Braces for Hurricane Irma
The latest two models, the American and European, which track and predict where this category 5 hurricane hits Florida differ greatly. The American model shows that the hurricane will stay over the water past Cuba and into the Florida straits and then turn right into the Key Largo area. This is part of the Florida Keys, which would simply devastate this area and the South Miami region. This scenario will spare the Gulf coast of Florida to the west (where I am).
The European model differs, in that, it has the hurricane going over Cuba, some 100 miles south of Miami, weakening, before it re-enters the warm waters and moves through into the Gulf of Mexico. But this is not for long because models show that it will most likely hit the Naples, Florida, area late Saturday night or Sunday morning. It will then continue in a northerly direction over Florida past east of Venice, Sarasota, and Tampa. Winds are projected to be at least 50-75 mph or more as it moves north Sunday and Monday.
Because the models are so different, forecasters have refrained until Friday to make pinpoint predictions which course Irma will take. Irma could also simply move northward up the Gulf coast of Florida and hit the panhandle, but this model seems to be a much less possibility.
In any case, Irma will remain a very destructive force due to its high winds and heavy rains. As to those in the areas of impact, start making a plan. Those on the east coast might elect to come to the Gulf side, but for those on Gulf Coast, models show going to the Miami area for refuge may not be a good idea due to the huge size of Irma. Going to Orlando is also a questionable choice because of the project path it may take.
It seems the best choice for most is to escape to the Tallahassee area, regardless of the path Irma takes.