Will Hurricane Irma Hit Daytona Beach? The Storm Could Ravage Several Florida Cities
The potential paths that Hurricane Irma could take are constantly changing, but one thing seems pretty certain at this point: Florida is going to get battered. It's not yet clear which cities exactly will sustain the most direct hits, but at the moment, it looks like Hurricane Irma will even hit Daytona Beach, a city farther up Florida's east coast.
Irma was recently downgraded to a Category 4 storm, but the path that most outlets are currently predicting take it pretty much straight up through the state of Florida. If and when it does make it to Daytona Beach — and it is unlikely that it won't — the current models are saying that it will probably have downgraded to a less severe Category 2 or 3 hurricane. Irma won't reach Daytona Beach before Monday morning, after it's dumped rain and brought searing winds across much of Florida, so residents of Daytona Beach still have time to get out if they feel it's necessary. While they won't sustain the direct hit that Miami is expected to run into, authorities in the area are still worried about damage it could incur to dunes and roads still not repaired after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Just as a reminder, even if Irma is only a Category 2 or 3 hurricane by the time it reaches Daytona Beach, it will still be extremely powerful. You've gotten used to hearing winds traveling at 185 mph, like when Irma was one of the strongest storms ever clocked over the Atlantic, but the 110 mph that a Category 2 can get up to is nothing to laugh at. Category 3 storms, which can pack up to 129 mph winds, can still severely damage buildings, knock down trees, and damage water and power lines.
For that reason, it's still a good idea to board your house up and get out if you live in Daytona Beach, especially since it's on the coast and the dunes in the area were already heavily eroded last year during Hurricane Matthew. While there are still a couple days for Irma to change its path, more and more outlets are agreeing on where it's most likely to go — and the news is not good for basically anyone living in Florida.
According to the National Hurricane Center, almost all of Florida is likely to feel the effects of this historic storm — Daytona Beach included. And thankfully, various institutions in the city are listening to the warning, with schools closing their campuses and many people heading north for safer ground. If you're in the area, keep an eye on the mandatory and recommended evacuations in Florida, and do your best to stay safe.