Models differ on how Irma might impact North Carolina

Posted September 3

— In the peak of hurricane season, meteorologists are continuing to monitor Hurricane Irma just days after Hurricane Harvey's devastating landfall. Irma has strengthened to a Category 3 storm that is currently centered far off the coast in the Atlantic, moving slightly west toward the states.

On Sunday afternoon, the storm had sustained winds of about 115 mph and prompted hurricane watches for portions of the Leeward Islands.

"This is definitely a strong hurricane as it continues to move to the west," said WRAL meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth. "We still really don't know the impact Irma might have on the United States, but this is definitely a storm that we're going to have to watch."

Wilmoth said both the American and European forecast models show that Irma will be over the southern portion of the Bahamas by Friday afternoon and will move into the northern Bahamas by next Sunday. The storm is expected to become a Category 4 storm by time it arrives.

"It does look like Irma will continue to strengthen over the coming days as it moves into more favorable conditions, including warmer water," Wilmoth said.

The storm will track toward the United States next Monday, but the models then differ on where it will go after that.

Wilmoth said the American model shows the storm moving in toward the South Carolina and North Carolina coasts while the European model keeps the storm entirely offshore.

"It's a pretty dramatic turn of events. If it stays offshore, things would be much better. If it comes on shore, it would be much worse," she said.

Wilmoth said it's too early to know for certain the direct impact Irma will have on the United States, but people should pay close attention to the forecast and prepare themselves.

"I would say that anyone around Florida to Virginia needs to pay very close attention to the forecast for Irma," she said.


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  • Marvin Sanderford Sep 3, 8:53 p.m.
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    I am a little confused... if it is still a week away from something/anything/nothing, and there are about a dozen different models with a dozen different outcomes at this point, isn't it kind of stirring the pot to focus on one possibility that it may hit NC? Isn't it just asking for people to freak out? Especially with the folks in southern NC still recovering from Matthew? Kind of a little misleading if not outright bad journalism MAKING the news instead of reporting it, isn't it?

  • Cnc Stone Sep 3, 8:13 p.m.
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    There are still 3 roads out around my house from Mathew thanks to the city of Fayetteville we will have baseball instead of fixing the roads and dams that control the flow of water away from the newly annexed areas one more storm may do us in and then the city can build more splash pads here !

  • John Archer Sep 3, 2:32 p.m.
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    How many days does it take for those devastated by Matthew to get their homes ready for another one? Don't wait!

  • Stacie Hagwood Sep 3, 2:12 p.m.
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    I SO APPRECIATE being able to see a whole forecast. It is so much better to have someone explain the weather coming up rather than just read the stats. Thank you WRAL!

  • Clarence Drumgoole Sep 3, 10:48 a.m.
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