The already-busy Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) now is watching three hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin — Category 5 Irma; Category 1 José, following behind Irma, and Category 1 Katia in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the first time in more than 5 years that three storms have been active at the same time in the same region.
“It now looks like the Hurricane Watch Net will be working on two land-falling hurricanes,” said HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV. “Irma is still affecting Puerto Rico and heading toward the Turks and Caicos Islands. Over the next few days, Irma will affect Hispaniola, Cuba, the Bahamas, and Florida. Katia is forecast to make landfall somewhere between Tampico and Veracruz, Mexico, late Friday evening or early Saturday morning.”
As of 2100 UTC today (September 6), Irma was about 40 miles northwest of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, and about 55 miles east-northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The storm’s maximum sustained winds at 185 MPH are well above the Category 5 threshold. It’s moving west-northwest at 16 MPH.
The storm damaged more than 90% of the buildings on Barbuda and Antigua, and it’s battered the northern Virgin Islands. In advance of Irma’s arrival on the US mainland, authorities in several Florida counties have begun issuing evacuation orders, while schools and offices across the state are shutting down, and anxious residents are clearing supermarket shelves.