BRIDGEPORT, W. Va. (WDTV) - Hurricane Irma will be heading toward the Mountain State after it makes landfall in the Southeast. Thankfully for us, it will be much weaker when it arrives. We will still get some rain and wind, but impacts look to be minor as of this writing.
The exact path of Hurricane Irma will be the main factor determining what we get from the storm. The other factor that will play a role is the air that is in place in our area as it gets close.
In terms of the path of Irma, the computer models are getting a better handle on this. It appears the hurricane will make landfall in south Florida on Sunday. The center of the storm will likely move up the east coast of the Sunshine State. This will allow it to weaken as it moves north. If it can stay just offshore, it would not weaken as fast.
The interaction of the storm with land is forecast to drop from a category 5 storm in south Florida to a category 1 or 2 storm by the time it gets into the northern part of the state or Georgia.
After moving into the northern part of Florida Irma is expected to make a turn to the northwest. At that time it will start to encounter a lot of cool, dry Canadian air. This is the enemy of hurricanes (or tropical storms or depressions). As the storm ingests air with low humidity and lower temperatures, it will continue to weaken. There will be plenty of that as it gets closer to West Virginia.
By the time what is left of Hurricane Irma gets close enough to impact the weather in NCWV, maximum sustained winds are forecast to be 45mph. As of Tuesday, the center of Irma should be around eastern Kentucky or eastern Tennessee. The mixing with dry air will also get rid of a lot of rain associated with the tropical system.
For now, it looks like some rain arrives on Tuesday, perhaps as early as 1:00pm. Winds will also be picking up, but don't appear to be stronger than 20mph or 25mph with some slightly stronger gusts. In terms of total rainfall accumulation, less than 1.00" for the event is shown by the computer models.
These winds speeds and rain totals may go up as we get closer to the event. More computer models will be in range of the event and will likely come into better agreement with each other.
As of Thursday evening no watches, warnings, or advisories in effect for our area. It appears the impacts will be minor for Tuesday and Wednesday as Irma comes to an end in the region.
We will have more updates to this story as more information comes in and gets analyzed by your First Alert Stormcenter team.