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Hurricane & Storm Surge Warnings Issued For South Florida, Keys

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hurricane and Storm Surge warnings have been issued for South Florida and the Florida Keys.

At 11 p.m., the center of the Category 5 hurricane was about 585 miles east-southeast of Miami.

Irma is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue for the next day or two with a decrease in forward speed. A turn toward the northwest is expected by late Saturday. On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should continue to move westward away from the Turks and Caicos Islands and toward the southeastern Bahamas overnight. The core of the hurricane will then move between the north coast of Cuba and the Bahamas during the next day or two.

Maximum sustained winds are near 165 mph (270 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 75 miles (120 km) from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km).

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for…
* Jupiter Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach
* Florida Keys

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for…
* North of Jupiter Inlet to Sebastian Inlet
* North of Bonita Beach to Venice

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Jupiter Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach
* Florida Keys
* Lake Okeechobee
* Florida Bay
* Haiti from the northern border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas
* Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands
* Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, and Villa Clara
* Central Bahamas
* Northwestern Bahamas

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* North of Jupiter Inlet to Sebastian Inlet
* North of Bonita Beach to Anna Maria Island
* Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas and Matanzas.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Haiti from south of Le Mole St. Nicholas to Port-Au-Prince
* Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, and Las Tunas

STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water is expected to reach the following HEIGHTS ABOVE GROUND if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…

Jupiter Inlet to Bonita Beach, including Florida Keys…5 to 10 ft Bonita Beach to Venice…3 to 5 ft Jupiter Inlet to Sebastian Inlet…3 to 6 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.

The combination of a life-threatening storm surge and large breaking waves will raise water levels ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS by the following amounts within the hurricane warning area near and to the north of the center of Irma. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

Turks and Caicos Islands…15 to 20 ft
Southeastern and central Bahamas…15 to 20 ft Northwestern Bahamas…5 to 10 ft Northern coast of Haiti and the Gulf of Gonave…1 to 3 ft Northern coast of Cuba in the warning area…5 to 10 ft

WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected to continue within the hurricane warning area in Haiti tonight. Hurricane conditions are occurring on the Turks and Caicos Islands. Tropical storm and hurricane conditions are spreading across the southeastern Bahamas and will move into the central Bahamas by early Friday. Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area along the north coast of Cuba late Friday and Saturday. Hurricane conditions are expected in the northwestern Bahamas Friday night and Saturday, and in portions of southern Florida and the Florida Keys late Saturday.

Hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area in Florida by Sunday, with tropical storm conditions possible by late Saturday.

RAINFALL: Irma is expected to produce the following rain accumulations through Sunday evening:

Northeast Puerto Rico and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands…
additional 2 to 4 inches, isolated 6 inches.
Northern Dominican Republic and northern Haiti…additional 3 to 6 inches.
Southern Dominican Republic and southern Haiti…additional 1 to 2 inches.
Much of the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos…8 to 12 inches, isolated
20 inches.
Andros Island and Bimini, Bahamas…12 to 16 inches, isolated 25 inches.
Eastern and central Cuba…4 to 10 inches, isolated 15 inches.
Southeast Florida and the upper Florida Keys…8 to 12 inches, isolated 20 inches Lower Florida Keys…2 to 5 inches.
Central Florida into northeast Florida and coastal Georgia…3 to 6 inches, isolated 10 inches.

In all areas this rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods and in some areas mudslides.

SURF: Swells generated by Irma are affecting Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the southeastern Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, and should start affecting portions of the southeast coast of the United States later today and tonight. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office.

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