Satellite view of Hurrican Irma as it approaches Puerto Rico, 6 September 2017, taken from NOAA's GOES-16 satellite. Photo: NOAA / RAMMB

By Eric Mack
5 September 2017

(Forbes) – While flood waters still stand in Houston, another dangerous storm – Hurricane Irma – is on a track toward the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and perhaps Florida, according to multiple models. Thanks in part to the same warm ocean waters that helped make Hurricane Harvey so destructive, Irma is now also shaping up to be a storm of historic proportions.

“The initial intensity is set at 155 (knots),” reads the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center in Miami. “This makes Irma the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic basin outside of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico in the NHC records.”

That measurement of 155 knots (178 mph) puts Irma on the top end of what’s considered a category five hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, which doesn’t go beyond category five. But, according to meteorologist Ryan Maue, if you extrapolated the scale further, Irma is on the verge of strengthening to a hypothetical category six superstorm. And just to be clear, there is actually no such thing, despite what you might read elsewhere.

The view of the storm from above also shows what a beast it is. At over 400 miles across, it’s currently larger than the state of Ohio.

Irma’s top wind speeds place it in a tie for third among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, ahead of some real monsters like Mitch and Katrina.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research has given Irma a rating of 5.3 on its Cyclone Damage Potential index (CDP), which rates a storm’s ability to cause destruction on a scale from 1 to 10. For comparison, Harvey was a 5.2 and Katrina was a 4.9. [more]

5 Clear Ways To Understand Hurricane Irma's Record-Breaking Power



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