Hurricane Irma Update
Sept. 7, 2017, 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC)

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Updated Sept. 7, 2017, 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC)


At 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 20.1 North, longitude 69.0 West. Irma is moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph (28 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue with some decrease in forward speed for the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should continue to move just north of the coast of Hispaniola today, be near the Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas by this evening, and then be near the Central Bahamas by Friday.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 180 mph (285 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).

The latest minimum central pressure just reported by an Air Force Hurricane Hunter plane is 921 mb (27.20 inches).

Track Information

As of 1200z Irma is moving along the north coast of the Dominican Republic. It will stay just north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti today and begin to impact the southeast Bahamas this evening. By Friday morning and into Saturday, it will be passing off the northern coast of Cuba. By late evening Saturday, Irma is expected to turn to the north.

Most models are now indicating that Irma will hit southern Florida before heading up the eastern side of the state. 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.

There is still come uncertainty in the track of the storm after it makes it northerly turn. Some models still show a possibility that Irma will make it to the Gulf and then come 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.

Airport Information

There are numerous airport closures listed on the FAA OIS page (14 so far). Operations should note that this reflects the major airports and is not a complete list. 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 airports are open, but the towers are no longer staffed, making them uncontrolled airfields.

Operators should expect some closures at south Florida airports by sometime late on Saturday.

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

There is limited radio coverage in some the northern areas of the PIARCO FIR, but all frequencies should be operational – coverage should be restored later today or tomorrow. ZSU radio frequencies are all operational at this time. Several radar facilities (including STT, QJT, SIG, BQN, and GDT) have failed or were shut down, so there are gaps in radar coverage throughout PIARCO and in ZSU airspace. Multiple power failures have been reported on St. Thomas, St. Croix and Puerto Rico. For specific outage information, please be sure to thoroughly check NOTAMs. Also, even though the storm is past the eastern Caribbean islands, it may take time to get people and parts to facilities there due to damage from the storm.

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
NBAA Air Traffic Services at the FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center also distributes email alerts about operational issues, including those related to weather. Subscribe to NBAA's Airspace/Airport Alerts now.

NBAA ATS on Twitter
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