Hurricane Irma Update
Sept. 7, 2017, 5 p.m. EDT (2100 UTC)

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Updated Sept. 7, 2017, 5 p.m. EDT (2100 UTC)

Overview

At 5 p.m. EDT (2100 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 20.9 North, longitude 71.1 West, moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h). This general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days with some decrease in forward speed. On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should continue to move between Hispaniola and the Turks and Caicos Islands this evening. 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 remain near 175 mph (280 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 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 922 mb (27.23 inches).

Track Information

No significant changes in the track. Irma is still expected to turn north on Saturday that will take Irma into Florida. The National Hurricane Center forecast shows the center of Irma hitting Miami early Sunday morning. It then continues north/northwest. Irma may straddle the shoreline or be slightly inland off the east coast of Florida. On Monday at mid-day, Irma is predicted to head a bit inland of Savannah, GA and then move toward the Tennessee/North Carolina border on Tuesday around noon. The more of this storm that goes inland, the quicker it will lose power. Unfortunately, it is still expected to come on shore in Florida as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane.

Airport Information

NBAA Air Traffic Services is hearing reports of some airport closure times popping up on social media. At this time, Air Traffic Services does not have official closing times for any of the airports in Miami (ZMA) or Jacksonville (ZJX) centers. This information is expected tomorrow afternoon. Airports throughout the state are likely to begin closing after noon local on Saturday – possibly sooner in southern Florida and likely later in northern Florida. Major airports will likely be added to the FAA OIS page. The rest will be NOTAM'd closed. ZMA and ZJX centers are expected to operate on reduced staffing beginning Saturday morning as they evacuate everyone else.

The list of current airport closures due to Irma's passage through the Bahamas is best checked via NOTAM or the new CANSO CADENA OIS page.

There are significant equipment outages in the wake of Irma as well. Numerous radar sites, VORs, NDBs, AWOS, ASOS, etc. have been reported out of service or unmonitored. They have begun to proactively shut down equipment in southern Florida as well.

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

Air Traffic Services expects tomorrow, Sept. 8, to be similar to today for flights into and out of Florida in advance of Irma.

An airspace flow program for traffic southbound into Florida is expected to be issued early in the morning tomorrow. It will capture all inland traffic and will likely include the Atlantic Routes (ARs) off the east coast tomorrow. The AZEZU route is likely to be available once again as a route out option on the east side and the Q-routes should be available on the west side.

Significant route structure is expected to help manage all the traffic into and out of Florida. Those routes should be out late this evening allowing operators to make sure that they are filed on the correct routes, which will help mitigate some of the delays associated with this event.

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.

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