HURRICANE IRMA UPDATE #3 - 8:30 p.m., Saturday, September 9th
Hurricane Irma update from Douglas County Communications & Community Relations and Douglas County Emergency Management
Here is the latest information about Hurricane Irma we received from the National Weather Service at its 8:30 p.m. briefing for emergency management teams across the State.
- The size of Irma’s hurricane wind field extends 120 miles wide (130 - 156 mph winds). The tropical storm wind field is 330 miles wide (39 - 73 mph winds).
This is a HUGE storm that will be re-intensifying overnight.
- The forecast track of Irma:
o Irma’s path is now predicted to come up the west coast of Florida with possible landfall around Naples. The longer that Irma stays over water, and therefore the farther north it makes landfall on west Florida, the stronger Irma becomes.
o Once Irma comes into Georgia, it is predicted to start bending northwestward, and is predicted to follow a track from Albany to Americus to LaGrange to Anniston and then farther into Alabama. Irma most likely will be a tropical storm by the time it gets to Albany (73 mph winds).
o Because the eye of the storm is now predicted to go just to the southwest of Douglas County, we will experience higher winds, more rain, and possibly an increased chance of tornadoes than previously thought.
- All of the State will most probably experience tropical force winds (minimum 39 mph).
- South Georgia will start to feel the impacts of the storm Sunday evening.
- Douglas County should start feeling the winds Monday morning.
o On Monday, the maximum wind gusts should be 45 - 55 mph, and will be inside the bands of rain surrounding the hurricane. The earliest wind gusts should be in north Georgia about 8 a.m. The most likely arrival time of tropical force winds should be about 8 p.m. Sustained winds could be about 40 mph.
o On Monday night, the rain should increase and wind gusts will increase to about 55 - 65 mph. Sustained winds could be about 40 mph.
o On Tuesday morning, we can expect more rain and wind gusts of 55 - 60 mph.
o The storm should exit our area some time on Tuesday.
- Douglas County can expect 3 - 5 inches of rain, although some of the rain bands may produce heavier amounts. Rainfall totals are expected to be much higher to the east of us.
- Douglas County is under a Flash Flood Watch from 8 a.m. Monday - 8 a.m. Tuesday due to the anticipated heavy rains.
- There is an increasing risk of tornadoes developing with this storm.
- The biggest impacts from Irma in Douglas County most likely will be widespread downed trees & powerlines, high winds, and the possibilities of tornadoes.
- The Woodie Fite Senior Center will be closed Monday and Tuesday.
- Douglas County Rideshare has canceled its vanpool program for Monday and Tuesday.
- The Douglas County School System will make a decision on any school closing after the 12 noon Sunday briefing, and will announce it via e-mail, phone, NotifyMe, social media, and local media after 2 p.m.
The confidence in the forecast is increasing as Irma gets closer to the Florida Keys. The National Weather Service will update emergency managers again at 12 noon and 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Updates will be posted, as appropriate, on the County web site at www.CelebrateDouglasCounty.com and on Douglas County Happenings on Facebook.
www.DouglasCountyEmergency.com is now active to centralize storm data and local information in one place.
As always, forecasts are subject to change, but regardless, this storm has a lot of damage potential.