Will Hurricane Irma Hit Virginia? The Storm Could Move Up The East Coast
As Hurricane Irma makes its way through the Caribbean with, unfortunately, what looks to be very intense force, people are wondering what path it will take next. Many in the continental U.S. want to know if Irma could potentially make landfall on the southern or eastern coasts, with some wondering if Hurricane Irma could strike as far north as Virginia. Right now, it is too early to know for sure, though there is a possibility that Irma could impact coastal Virginia.
Hurricane Irma is reportedly one of the most powerful storms to form in the Atlantic Ocean. It is currently classified as a Category 5 "major" hurricane — the highest ranking for a hurricane, which means the storm has severe winds that could potentially cause massive destruction. Irma will pass over the northern Leeward Islands in the Caribbean Sea; afterwards, its path is not fully known, though it is very possible that it could strike the United States.
Business Insider reported that there is a strong possibility that Hurricane Irma will hit Florida, and the National Hurricane Center now stating:
The chance of direct impacts from Irma later this week and this weekend is increasing in the Florida Keys and portions of the Florida Peninsula. However, it is too soon to specify the timing and magnitude of the impacts.
The state of Florida is urging residents to prepare for the storm as well as for possible evacuation.
However, the NHC also reported that "elsewhere, it is too early to determine what direct impacts Irma might have on the continental United States."
Still, as Newport News Patch reported, there is a distinct possibility that Irma could reach there — including Virginia — if the hurricane makes a northward turn. Should the hurricane hit the eastern continental U.S., it will likely not do so until next week.
Newport News Patch reported today that the areas in Virginia most likely to be impacted by Irma are its coastal areas. However, according to some models, the storm could also potentially significantly impact weather in western parts of the state as well.
In case Irma does impact Virginia, local officials are warning the state's residents not to wait and see what happens — instead, act now and be prepared, just in case. This preparation includes creating a hurricane supply kit, being aware of evacuation notices and routes, and preparing one's home for potential storm damage.
Right now, while the weather in the state is still relatively calm and stores are more fully stocked, National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Dutter, based in Wakefield, Virginia, advised in Newport News' Daily Press:
Dust off your hurricane plans ... and be prepared, just in case. ... The time not do it is the day before the storm.
Overall, while it is still too soon to tell whether Hurricane Irma will affect Virginia, it is nonetheless important that the state's residents are prepared in the event that the powerful storm does indeed move up the East Coast.