FIRST ALERT: Irma weakens to a depression - | WBTV Charlotte

FIRST ALERT: Irma weakens to a depression

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

11:00 P.M. UPDATE:

Good news on the Irma front. The storm has been downgraded to a depression. Winds are at 35mph. The storm is currently right along the Georgia/ Alabama border. It will continue to move through Alabama and into Tennessee tomorrow.

The WBTV viewing area has been picking up gusty winds for a few hours now. Wind gusts have been as high as 45mph. As we head through the night, the winds will begin to scale back a bit. Still, we could see periods of rain. It could be heavy at times as the waves of rain continue to move from south to north.

If you're waking up and heading out on Tuesday morning, expect a few showers to be left around. They will be fewer and farther between but could still be a bit disruptive as you head off to work. Many schools are delaying their start so that kids who are driving themselves to school won't run into unexpected trees and other debris on the road before the sun comes up. Overall, conditions should be improving through the day. Highs will be close to 80°.

8:00 P.M. UPDATE:

Irma's current winds are sustained at 45mph, with higher gusts. The storm has been on the current path for a while. We are still pretty confident that it will continue.

Winds in the Carolinas are really beginning to pick up. Already, gusts are up to 30 or 35 mph and gusting higher at times. That will be the case for the next several hours.

The rain has been off and on for a few hours and we aren't done yet. There will be pockets of heavy rain and then a break in between. If you see the rain slack off, just wait a few minutes before it picks back up. By the time all is said and done, we could possibly have 1-2" with locally higher amounts.

Things will begin to improve during the morning hours on Tuesday. We could even see a little sun by the end of the day.

5:00 P.M. UPDATE:

Irma continues to weaken as the center moves across south Georgia and into Alabama.

Winds are currently sustained at 50mph. It will be a very wet night for most of Georgia and Alabama. Even though the storm isn't as strong as it was even 24 hours ago, it is still a huge storm! Tropical storm force winds extend out 415 miles out from the center. That means even we, here in the Carolinas are getting pretty good winds gusts.

As we head into the evening and overnight period, the rain will continue to come down. It will come in waves. There will be pockets of heavy rain. Other times, it may taper down to a drizzle. Then pick back up again. Some of the heaviest rain could come through overnight. It should taper off during the morning though.

As far as winds are concerned, we are under a Wind Advisory and Cleveland County is under a High Wind Warning into the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Winds could be 20-30mph, with gusts up to 40 mph. They could go as high as 50 mph in Cleveland County (just because you are a bit closer to the storm).

The biggest concern will likely be for stronger winds that last for an extended period of time. They won't be the strongest winds we've ever seen but they will last a lot longer than they typically do. Because of that and a saturated ground, we could see trees and power lines coming down. That could lead to power outages.?

2:00 P.M. UPDATE:

Irma is a tropical storm with sustained winds of 60 mph. The storm will continue to move across Georgia and into Alabama by Tuesday morning. 

For us in the WBTV viewing area, we should still expect gusty winds and periods of heavy rain. Fortunately, winds may not be quite as strong as originally expected. Still, we should expect winds of 30-40 mph from this evening into the night. Occasionally there could be a few higher gusts.

Rain will come in waves. There will be pockets of heavy rain and other times, there may not be much more than a drizzle. The rain will fall from the afternoon into the night. It will start to taper off during the morning on Tuesday.  We may even see a few peeks of sun by the end of the day on Tuesday. 

There is a still a concern for power outages. Not everyone will lose power but winds will continue to pick for several hours. Trees and power lines in saturated soil may start to come down. 

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11:00 A.M. UPDATE - 

Location...30.3N 83.1W

About 70 miles...115 kilometers east of Tallahassee, Florida 

About 85 miles...135 kilometers north of Cedar Key, Florida 

Maximum sustained winds... 65 mph...100 kilometers an hour

Present movement..NNW or 340 degrees at 17 MPH...28 KM/H

Minimum central pressure...975 MB...28.80 inches

We continue to track what's left of what was once record-breaking Hurricane Irma. The storm made landfall Sunday morning at Cudjoe Key and then made a second landfall on Marco Island, Florida Sunday afternoon. But Irma is now a shell of itself, barely holding onto to any tropical characteristics, drifting north over the Florida-Georgia line.  Maximum sustained winds are set at 65 mph with perhaps some higher gusts in squalls north and east of the center. The circulation will continue to move up north-northwest into the afternoon and evening hours Monday, pounding Alabama, Georgia and parts of the Carolinas with heavy rain and gusty winds. 

What does that mean for us? 

After spotty and light rain Monday morning, things will start to go downhill during Monday afternoon. Rain will pick up through Monday evening, becoming heavy at times.  The rain will then taper down overnight, with most communities totaling one to two inches (locally higher amounts possible) before doing so.

As for the winds, those will increase as well Monday afternoon. We could experience sustained winds of 20-30 mph Monday evening, with gusts over 50 mph at times, which is a little bit higher than what we saw on the models earlier Monday. We are under a Wind Advisory until 2 a.m. Tuesday with a High Wind Warning in western sections.

By Wednesday, the storm will be a thing of the past. In the meantime, stay safe and stay tuned to WBTV on air and online. Make sure you have the WBTV weather app so you can have the latest weather information. 

Have a great week!

 - Meteorologist Al Conklin

8:00 A.M. UPDATE - 

Location...29.5N 82.9W

About 30 miles, 50 kilometers NNE of Cedar Key, Florida 

About 105 miles, 170 kilometers NNW of Tampa, Florida

Maximum sustained winds -70 MPH, 110 KM/H

Present movement...NNW or 340 degrees at 18 MPH...30 KM/H

Minimum central pressure - 970 MB...28.64 inches 

Irma has now weakened to a tropical storm but is still producing wind gusts that are near hurricane force. 

For the first time in 10 days and 21 hours… Irma is no longer a hurricane. As of 8 AM on Monday Irma lost her hurricane status and has now become a tropical storm. Impacts from Irma will still be felt here across the WBTV viewing area as we head into Monday afternoon and Monday night.

For the Carolinas today:

Expect rainy and windy conditions as the weather deteriorates during the afternoon and evening hours. Irma now downgraded to a tropical storm. As we head into the afternoon hours, winds will begin to kick up.

We will likely see sustained winds in the range of 25 to 30 mph during the evening hours of Monday and possibly gusting in the range of 40 mph. The intensity of the rainfall will also be ramping up during the afternoon and evening hours of Monday. Computer guidance suggests that the Charlotte metro will likely pick up between an inch and two inches. A wind advisory will for the Charlotte area will be in effect until 4 am on Tuesday.

Areas to the west of Charlotte will are under a high wind warning… this includes Cleveland County and Shelby.

5 A.M. UPDATE -

Location - 28.9N, 82.6W

About 35 miles, 55 kilometers ESE of Cedar Key, Florida

About 66 miles, 100 kilometers north of Tampa, Florida

Maximum sustained winds - 75 mph, 120 km/h

Present movement - NNW or 340 degrees at 18 mph, 30 km/h

Minimum central pressure - 965, 28.50 inches

The latest coming in from the National Hurricane Center shows that Irma has continued to weaken.  With max sustained winds of 75 mph, Irma is a weak Category 1 hurricane.  Still, Irma’s tropical storm winds extend hundreds of miles out from the center.

For the Carolinas, we should expect rainy and windy conditions as the storm deteriorates during the afternoon and evening hours Monday. Irma should be downgraded to a tropical storm as the storm tracks into Georgia Monday afternoon. 

We will likely see sustained winds in the range of 30 to 35 mph during the evening hours of Monday. The intensity of the rainfall will also be ramping up during the afternoon and evening hours of Monday. Computer guidance suggests that the Charlotte metro will likely pick up between an inch and two inches of rain. A Wind Advisory is in effect for the Charlotte area until 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Areas to the west of Charlotte, including Shelby and Cleveland County, are under a High Wind Warning.

- Meteorologist Al Conklin

2 A.M. UPDATE - 

Location - 28.2N, 82.2W  

About 20 miles...30 kilometers NW of Lakeland, Florida  

About 25 miles, 40 kilometers NE of Tampa, Florida  

Maximum sustained winds - 85 mph, 135 km/h 

Present movement - NNW or 345 degrees at 15 mph, 24 km/h  

Minimum central pressure - 960 mb, 28.35 inches

We continue to track Hurricane Irma. The storm made landfall Sunday morning at Cudjoe Key and then a second landfall on Marco Island, Florida Sunday afternoon. As of Monday morning, Irma was being classified as a Category 1 storm with winds of 85 mph. Irma will continue to move up north Monday, just inland from the west coast of Florida and will pound them with heavy rain and gusty winds.

Irma will then move up north later on Monday and weaken below hurricane strength in southeast Georgia Monday night. 

What does that mean for us? 

Most models hold off on rain for the WBTV viewing area until the second half of Monday. Things will start to go downhill during the afternoon hours Monday. Rain will pick up through the afternoon and evening Monday and will last into the night - becoming heavy at times. 

As for the winds, those will also begin to pick up Monday afternoon. We could see winds of 20-30 mph, with gusts over 40 mph at times. We are under a Wind Advisory from 8 a.m. Monday until 2 a.m. Tuesday.

By Wednesday, the storm will be a thing of the past. In the meantime, stay safe and stay tuned to WBTV on air and online. Make sure you have the WBTV weather app so you can have the latest weather information. 

PREVIOUS BLOG: TRACKING IRMA: Good sign as Irma winds down to 100mph

RELATED: Weakened Irma lashes Tampa Bay region; full impact unknown

- Meteorologist Al Conklin

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