A loaded question, indeed. On the morning of September 5, our phone alerts made it apparent that this Hurricane upgraded to a Category 5 storm.
Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, still spinning its wheels over Hurricane Harvey's tragic landfall to Southeast Texas, could use a break. But Irma appears certain to strike somewhere in the U.S., and that answers the question as to whether it is a threat quite up front.
We don't employ a meteorologist at the Weekly Citizen, so we are just as concerned as you are and reliant on outside sources. USA Today and others warn that Irma is "extremely dangerous," that it has winds upwards of "175 mph," and that it will hit unincorporated U.S. territory Puerto Rico by Wednesday night as a Category 4 hurricane.
So if you're reading this in the paper it has already moved further towards the Gulf of Mexico.
However, trusted storm tracker Weather Underground shows Irma moving almost straight upward once it hits the south of Florida. This map currently keeps it from moving any further into our region. In fact, of about 20 projections for Irma's path not one shows a likelihood of Irma moving into the gulf. This may be a breather for Texas/Louisiana, but Florida appears to be in trouble.
Irma is projected to cover the entire state of Florida, minus the panhandle and move upwards along the East Coast. Therefore it could also mean trouble for Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia or as far north as New Jersey. One model projection shows the reach of Irma moving eventually well into Canada.
It's tough to say exactly what Irma will do ultimately, but Louisiana currently appears to be out of the way of its path, and Florida should brace for the worst.
We support www.wunderground.com and other sources for up-to-date weather news and encourage our readers to check frequently in the coming weeks for any changes that may occur regarding the path of yet another dangerous storm approaching the gulf.