BLOG - Irma vs Carolinas… what if? - | WBTV Charlotte

BLOG - Irma vs Carolinas… what if?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

We received the latest output from the GFS model, which has been in rather good agreement with the European (ECMWF) model for a change.

(Reference photo to the left)

Notice Irma heading up through the western Carolinas? This is valid at 2 a.m. next Tuesday. Is this likely to happen exactly as shown? Probably not, it's still a week away. But what if? What if Irma followed this exact track which started over south Florida and wound up in this location?

Your first impulse might be, wow, this is catastrophic, especially if you have bad memories of Hugo. But let's look at the other data on this map. Unlike Hugo, a Florida landfall would give Irma much more time to spin down. Those green colors you see over our region are depicting winds in the 25 - 35 mph range.

That's not too terrible, however, the winds would likely remain in that range for around 15 hours as the storm moves through. That would take its toll on area trees, and over time, probably would result in some large limbs toppling and some power line damage.

The other issue would be a tornado threat as the right-front quadrant is the most favored for tornadic storms to form.

Rainfall would be the other big concern. It would likely start raining well ahead of the center of this storm starting around late Sunday night, ending early Tuesday morning. By then five to ten inches of rain could fall.

So once again, is this likely? No, not exactly as depicted, but until we know for sure where Irma will go, it's not too early to start thinking about a preparedness plan. What if it's worse?

Good things to have:

  • Bottled Water
  • Canned Food
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • NOAA Weather Radio
  • Cell phone and charger

Think about if you live in a flood prone area. Any dead or diseased trees around your house? Not too late to remove them. Make sure your cars are in the garage or under the car port that day if possible. Little things like that can save you aggravation later.

Stay safe!

- Meteorologist Eric Thomas

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