Sarasota, FL (WWSB) - A hurricane warning has been issued for the Suncoast as far north as Anna Maria Island.
Hurricane Irma is becoming exactly what we didn't want to see happen. It now is becoming more clear that this could be a worse case scenario for the Suncoast, as the latest forecasting models are now taking the storm further west.
What does this mean... stronger winds, greater height in storm surge, and the potential for more widespread destruction for "our" area. And not only for the Suncoast, but for most the state of Florida. Even though this storm has shifted more to the west, it's a very large storm, and will effect millions from coast to coast. Inland county's could experience sustained winds of over 100 MPH, and along the coast, winds could climb up to 80-90 MPH.
Please heed warnings, as this is an extremely serious and life threatening situation.
You can keep abreast of the latest developments on ABC-7, MySuncoast.com, and or our Facebook page.
1. Irma is a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane and will continue to bring life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall hazards to the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas through Saturday. Heavy rainfall is still possible across portions of Hispaniola through Friday. Hurricane conditions will also spread over portions of the north coast of Cuba, especially over the adjacent Cuban Keys through Saturday. 2. Severe hurricane conditions are expected over portions of the Florida peninsula and the Florida Keys beginning late Saturday. Irma could make landfall in southern Florida as a dangerous major hurricane, and bring life-threatening storm surge and wind impacts to much of the state. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for southern Florida, the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee, and Florida Bay, while Hurricane Watches have been issued northward into central Florida. 3. A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for southern Florida and the Florida Keys. A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, during the next 36 hours in the indicated locations. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic, available at hurricanes.gov. This is a life-threatening situation. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions. Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials. A Storm Surge Watch has been issued north of the Storm Surge Warning for portions of the central Florida coast. 4. There is a chance of direct impacts in portions of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, but it is too early to specify the magnitude and location of these impacts.
Hurricane warnings indicate that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph), the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds to allow for important preparation.
During a hurricane warning, complete storm preparations and immediately leave the threatened area if directed by local officials.
A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within the specified area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds in an area.
During a hurricane watch, prepare your home and review your plan for evacuation in case a hurricane or tropical storm warning is issued. Listen closely to instructions from local officials.