Irma’s track shifts, Florida east coast, Southeast U.S. at heightened risk

The latest guidance on Hurricane Irma is suggesting that the storm is more likely than not to strike the east coast of Florida or the Southeast U.S., with effects first being felt on Sunday, according to supply chain risk analysis firm Riskpulse’s latest Watchtower Alert.

Trucking and shipping interests can track Riskpulse’s updates on its Real-Time Analysis feed. The company also offers subscription services with more in-depth information for shipment lanes.

Irma is currently a powerful Category 5 hurricane with 185 mph sustained winds on the northeast fringe of the Caribbean near the islands of Anguilla, Saint Martin and Saint Barts. It was moving west-northwest at 16 mph.

Riskpulse advises that the potential storm track can change, noting that yesterday there was a 50% chance of the storm sliding past Florida into the Gulf of Mexico; that has shifted with its new track overnight to just a 30% chance of occurring as of today. While it maintains 185 mph winds, it is difficult for the storm to maintain those, Riskpulse added, although there is still a 75% to 80% Irma reaches the U.S. mainland as a Category 3 storm or higher. There is a 98% chance of Irma making landfall in the mainland U.S., the question is where exactly that will happen.

“Today’s takeaway on the track beyond the next 4 days is an earlier ‘right hook’/eastward shift in model guidance,” Riskpulse said. “This change began yesterday…but it wasn’t until overnight where all model guidance made the shift. As a result of the shift, this has increased the risk of Irma now being an Atlantic storm versus a Gulf Storm, increasing the risk for the east coast of Florida and the Southeast U.S. while decreasing the risk for the west coast of Florida.”

Last night, Riskpulse’s Real-Time Analysis pointed out how the next 24 hours would be critical to determine potential impacts. “Even after [Tuesday’s] model runs, significant differences still exist between the projected tracks of Irma by several of the forecast models that are traditionally most reliable,” Riskpulse advised. “We’ll forgo sharing specific forecast maps, as we don’t view any one track as more or less likely than the others at this point, but it is fair to say that the uncertainty associated with the forecast at this stage is above average for a Day 5 forecast. The next 24 hours are critical for communicating any anticipated impacts in the South Florida region, and we can hope that the models are able to come into better agreement in this time in order to facilitate the clearest possible communication of the anticipated impacts.”

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.