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

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

Overview

At 8 a.m. EDT (1200 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 21.8 North, longitude 74.7 West. 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 so 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 move near the north coast of Cuba and the central Bahamas today and Saturday, and be near the Florida Keys and the southern Florida Peninsula Sunday morning.

Maximum sustained winds are near 150 mph (240 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a Category 4 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 hurricane as it approaches Florida.

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 latest minimum central pressure reported by a reconnaissance plane was 927 mb (27.37 inches).

Track Information

Irma weakened slightly overnight, but is expected to strengthen again before making landfall late Saturday night or early Sunday morning in southern Florida, south of Miami. The current track now takes the storm up the Florida peninsula, just east of the center line. The exact path will depend on when Irma turns north, which is still expected to happen sometime on Saturday. It then moves quickly north, making it to the Florida/Georgia line by Monday and the Georgia/South Carolina line by Tuesday as a tropical storm. Irma is expected to reach Tennessee overnight Wednesday as a tropical depression.

Airport Information

NBAA Air Traffic Services has reports of some airport closure times popping up on social media. At this time, NBAA 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 to start coming in today. Airports throughout Florida 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 or will go ATC Zero (no one in the tower, uncontrolled airfield). ZMA is already reporting some staffing issues as people evacuate family.

There are also issues in the northeast as operators move aircraft north to avoid Irma. As of this morning, MMU had only four spaces left. EWR ran out of GA ramp space last night, but has limited space as of this morning.

Two airports, BCT and APF, have reported that they are out of fuel (BCT/APF). Numerous other locations have waited hours for replenishment. More airports are expected to run out today, with the possibility of not being replenished until after Irma passes. Operators should fuel accordingly.

Operators are strongly encouraged to call before each flight to make sure required services are available. Staffing issues will include service providers as well.

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

There is an airspace flow program for traffic going into Florida today that started at 13z and runs until at least 2259z. There are also numerous required reroutes to help manage the significant volume of traffic into and out of Florida and the northeast.

ZMA is requesting that to the extent possible, operators file out of ZMA via the Q-routes on the west side and the ARs or AZEZU routes on the east side. These will be the best routes out of Florida and likely to receive the least delays throughout the day.

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
Follow NBAA ATS on Twitter for airspace updates.

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