As one of the potentially catastrophic hurricanes to ever hit the United States closes in on southern Florida, the storm is so powerful that its remnants are likely to be felt in the Hudson Valley in the middle of next week in the form of rainfall.
Irma, downgraded Friday to a Category 4 from the highest level of Category 5, is centered as of 8 a.m. 80 miles northeast of eastern Cuba,
Maximum sustained winds remain near 150 miles per hour with higher gusts (down from 175 mph on Thursday).
After blasting the northern Caribbean, it will turn toward Florida, unleashing destructive winds, flooding rain and dangerous storm surges across Florida starting early Sunday morning, according to AccuWeather.com.
It is now expected to make landfall in the Florida Keys around 7 a.m. Sunday.
"Unfortunately, there is no way the United States is going to avoid another catastrophic weather event," Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder, president and chairman of AccuWeather said.
"There will be massive damage in Florida," Myers added, saying Irma will be "the worst single hurricane to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992."
The current track of Irma will bring the most severe impacts to the eastern side of the state, including Miami, West Palm Beach, Melbourne, Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, AccuWeather said.
After barreling through Florida, Irma is expected to go from a Cat 4 storm to Cat 3 midway through the state and then Cat 2 as it approaches the Georgia state line. By the time it moves through Georgia overnight Sunday into Monday. It will then become a Tropical Storm, then Tropical Depression with its impact finally being felt in the Hudson Valley next Wednesday in the form of rain.
The rain is not expected to be torrential at this time, but changes in the path of Irma could alter that expectation.
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