Hurricane Irma Update
Sept. 6, 2017, 5 p.m. EDT (2100 UTC)

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Updated Sept. 6, 2017, 5 p.m. EDT (2100 UTC)

Overview

At 5 p.m. EDT (2100 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 18.8 North, longitude 65.4 West. Irma is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the extremely dangerous core of Irma will pass just north of Puerto Rico tonight, pass near or just north of the coast of Hispaniola Thursday, and be near the Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas by Thursday evening.

Maximum sustained winds are near 185 mph (295 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 50 miles (85 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km). A wind gust to 62 mph (100 km/h) has been recently reported at San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The estimated minimum central pressure based on Air Force reconnaissance aircraft data is 914 mb (26.99 inches).

Track Information

As of 2100z Irma is moving along the northeast shore of Puerto Rico. It will stay north off the shores of the Dominican Republic and Haiti Thursday afternoon as it moves closer to the islands of the Bahamas on its track west/northwestward. By Friday afternoon it will be north of the eastern end of Cuba, nearer the Bahamas before turning back towards the central Cuba shoreline on Saturday afternoon. Sometime on Saturday Irma is expected to turn to the north.

The predominant model consensus is for a turn early on Saturday, which takes Irma up the eastern side of Florida. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasters are showing a track that makes landfall south of Miami on Sunday morning. It then moves through the West Palm Beach area before going back off shore near Orlando Monday morning.

It is important to note that the two main models (US and Euro), which are ensembles with multiple permutations, still show a few tracks that take Irma into the Gulf and up the west side of Florida. This is reflected in the NHC's "cone of uncertainty," which reaches from the Florida Panhandle on the west side, well into the Atlantic on the east side at day five of their forecast. Average track forecast error at 4 days (near South Florida) is roughly 175 miles, at 5 days (near north Florida) about 225 miles.

Airport Information

There are numerous airport closures listed on the FAA OIS page (14 so far), which is a good starting place for many of the major airports. Also, please note that many of these closures are for numerous days at this point. A number of other airports are also reporting ATC Zero status, which means that the airport is open, but the tower is no longer staffed, this means that it reverts to an uncontrolled airfield. Brand new this storm is an CANSO CADENA OIS page. This is a good source for additional, detailed information regarding airport closures and route issues for places like PIARCO and San Juan, among others.

NOTAMs are the most accurate way to determine the status of an airport as these are managed by the airport manager or airport authority. In events such as this, it is hard for the FAA to keep the OIS page updated with the ongoing airport status changes. Operators should call ahead to confirm needed services are available regardless of airport status.

View PilotWeb NOTAMs.

Route Information

Limited radio coverage inside the PIARCO FIR, but all frequencies should be operational. ZSU, BQN, and SIG radars have been shut down in preparation. ZSU will use their protected long-range radar for the area. ZSU radio frequencies are all operational at this time. The QJQ long range radar failed. The SST VOR failed. The STX VOR is un-monitored. Multiple power failures have been reported on St. Thomas, St. Croix and Puerto Rico. There are more outages listed in NOTAMs. It may take time to get people and parts to these facilities once it is safe.

Due to the current path, no impact to New York Oceanic (ZWY) is expected, so they will work with the others to move traffic out of the impacted centers. Some of this will be handled tactically, but there could also be required reroutes.

Operators are encouraged to monitor the FAA Current Reroutes page and the FAA Advisories Database for the latest on required reroutes and route closures.

Additional Operational Resources

National Hurricane Center
The National Hurricane Center has all the latest information on tropical storms or hurricanes in both the Atlantic (including the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico) and Pacific basins. These resources include forecast tracks and intensity as well as winds and storm surge.

NBAA Airspace/Airport Alerts
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