Downgraded to a tropical storm, Irma brings heavy rain, wind & isolated tornadoes to our area today tonight and early Tuesday. Currently winds near the center are blowing at 65 mph.
A high wind WARNING is in effect for all the Upstate and Macon, Jackson, Transylvania, Henderson, Polk, and Rutherford Counties in western NC Monday into early Tuesday for potential wind gusts exceeding 50 mph. This will cause some downed trees and power lines. This replaces the high wind watch previously in effect.
A flash flood watch is in effect Monday morning through Tuesday morning for northeast Georgia, along with northern Oconee County, and southern Jackson, Henderson, Transylvania, and the high elevations of Polk, Rutherford, and McDowell counties for Monday into Tuesday morning. In these listed areas, rain totals could approach 5 inches. Elsewhere, 1-4" of rain are possible.
Here is an update on the LATEST thinking for our area and a timeline:
Noon – 5 PM – Winds pick up to 20-40 mph sustained with higher gusts to 50 as rain intensity increases.
5 PM – 2 AM – This looks to be the most active period of weather. Torrential rain, wind gusts over 50 mph, and an isolated tornado risk will develop. For more on the tornado risk, click HERE. Keep in mind, saturated ground will make it easier for weaker trees to fall.
2 AM – 8 AM – Gradual improvement in the Upstate and northeast Georgia as rain intensity and wind relax. Breezy and rainy weather could continue for parts of western NC.
For the rest of Tuesday, expect a mostly cloudy sky with areas of light rain scattered across the area.
Irma will eventually become a remnant low and be absorbed into the mid-levels of the atmosphere. As this happens, spotty rain chances will continue through mid-week for our area…but NOTHING major is expected at this time.
By Friday and Saturday, we finally dry out with temperature returning to the lower 80s.
Irma made landfall at 9:10 AM Sunday morning near Cudjoe Key, FL as a category 4 storm making it the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma in 2005.
A second landfall occurred on Marco Island, FL at 3:35 PM as a Cat 3 hurricane. Winds were reported at 115 mph, gusting to 130 mph.
The latest track has nudged east slightly, but the center of circulation and associated WORST impacts will still remain to our south and west, over the Florida Panhandle into Georgia.
HOWEVER, this track will still bring the risk of heavy rain, gusty wind, and isolated tornadoes to our area by Monday afternoon and evening.
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