Only a few days after Hurricane Harvey ravaged Southeastern Texas, a new hurricane began forming in the eastern parts of the Atlantic Ocean. The monstrous hurricane known as Hurricane Irma has put meteorologists and weather forecasters on alert but so far, it isn't clear which states Irma will target. According to weather projections, the trajectory of the beastly Category 2 hurricane is unclear and will need more time to gain definition which will allow forecasters to predict correctly. So far, what is known is that Irma could become a potential threat to the United States after Labor Day.
For those who may be wondering, a lack of clarity about a hurricane's potential path isn't out of the normal. Typically, hurricanes take a few days to take on a more cohesive shape and become easily readable to weather experts. On Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center said that Irma "continues to fluctuate in strength but remains a powerful hurricane."
At this moment, Hurricane Irma could be threat for those living on the East Coast and Gulf Coast. Although unconfirmed, potential areas where Irma could make landfall include Florida, North Carolina, and Texas. Apart from these states, the Bahamas and Bermuda could also experience the volatility of Irma in the next few days.
Tracking the movement and progression of a hurricane involves examining different kinds of prediction models. They're nifty little ensembles that provide insight and trajectories, so that weather experts can predict potential landfall and also alert locals of a specific area that is in the way of the storm. Currently, meteorologists are looking at several models and one of them is the spaghetti plot for Irma. But remember: these are merely models and have yet to confirm any concrete tracks for the hurricane.
The spaghetti prediction plot allows meteorologists to see the potential areas the hurricane could hit. The little dotted lines show potential tracks for the hurricane and the geographic regions it could engulf and target in its journey. Several spaghetti plots for Hurricane Irma indicate a movement beginning from the Caribbean and then heading toward Florida and North Carolina. This is why different weather information outlets have asked dwellers on the East Coast and Gulf Coast to be prepared in advance.
Projection models take into account a host of factors like visual data from satellites, information on possible trends, historical precedents, the storm's eyewall cycles, and the sort. But they're just that: projections. Locals in the areas that might be affected should definitely keep an eye on predictive models but they shouldn't panic. They're better off preparing in advance with practical guides like this one on hurricanes.
Hopefully, Irma will simply waltz off the East Coast and Gulf Coast, and head back to the Atlantic Ocean. We're keeping our fingers crossed for now.