Over the past couple of weeks, Hurricane Harvey has wreaked havoc in the greater Houston area, caused millions of dollars of damage and leaving at least 50 people dead. It's been an enormous human cost, and it's focused a tremendous amount of attention on preparing and bracing for another potential natural disaster. But it's important not to jump to conclusions ― it's worth asking whether Hurricane Irma will hit The Bahamas in the days to come, before considering whether it'll make landfall on the U.S. east coast.
And, based on current forecasts, the answer appears to be yes. Although projecting major climate events like these is a tricky business, and circumstances are prone to change. But according to several recent forecasts from reputable meteorological organizations, its sounds as though the Bahamas will indeed face the effects of Irma. While it's unclear whether Irma will directly hit The Bahamas, to be clear, it's looking increasingly likely that the archipelago will be impacted by Irma's westward path through the Caribbean.
In fact, according to the latest projection from the National Hurricane Center, Irma is expected to move past The Bahamas sometime on Friday. That's based on the NHC's four-to-five day prediction, however, which by its nature is slightly less reliable than the one-to-three day prediction. That said, the forecast paints a pretty worrying picture.
As noted by Greg Porter for The Washington Post, the NHC projection has Irma passing just south of The Bahamas later this week. Based on that model's cone of projected influence, however, it would come as no surprise for Irma to bring a deluge of rainfall and heavy winds to the islands, so if you live there or are taking a vacation, you should be very attentive and aware of your safety as the week goes on.
Needless to say, an immense amount of attention is being focused lately on what'll happen after Irma movves past The Bahamas, assuming it continues drifting northwest, rather than peeling to the northeast.
The Bahamas sit about 180 miles from the southeast coast of Florida, and as such, Irma wouldn't have much further to go to start inundating the Sunshine State, as well. From there, there's no telling how far up the eastern seaboard the storm could go.
But again, it's important not to jump to conclusions. As it stands now, it appears likely that The Bahamas will be impacted by Irma, and it's feasible ― although not guaranteed ― that the storm could move right through them. Beyond that, however, you're pushing up against the outer-edge of the major hurricane forecasts. In a few more days, though, it'll be a whole lot clearer what's likely to happen; there's no harm in taking steps to protect yourself now, however, so you don't get caught flat-footed at the last minute.