Weather

Watching Hurricane Irma? South Mississippians should remember this fact

The National Weather Service said at 11 a.m. Thursday that Hurricane Irma could become a major hurricane as early as Friday morning.
The National Weather Service said at 11 a.m. Thursday that Hurricane Irma could become a major hurricane as early as Friday morning. National Weather Service

People living in the Houston area and in smaller cities such as Rockport are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Harvey, and a new hurricane turning in the Atlantic has something in common with past storms that impacted the Gulf Coast.

Texans are picking up the pieces within the devastation that Harvey left after making landfall twice. Some people are still weathering the storm — a chemical plant 30 miles away from Houston reported explosions after chemicals united.

Houston police were still rescuing people from flooding on Wednesday Night and Thursday morning, according to the Washington Post.

Louisiana residents also saw flooding in many areas, and the storm brought significant flash flooding to South Mississippi earlier this week.

As the Lone Star State begins its long recovery process, many Americans — including South Mississippians — have their eyes in the tropics as Hurricane Irma intensifies.

The storm reached Category 3 strength Thursday and is expected to intensify. The National Weather Service expects Irma to strengthen even more by Friday morning as the storm moves west northwest in the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s too soon to to know where Irma will make landfall, but the place where the storm was named a hurricane gives insight that people in South Mississippi need to know.

Michael Lowry, scientist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and FEMA task force lead, said on Twitter that 15 percent or less of storms that formed into hurricanes near the Cabo Verde Islands have made landfall in the United States.

However, Lowry said, those storms that do impact the U.S. tend be significant.

Examples of hurricanes that formed around the same area as Irma that impacted the Gulf Coast include Hurricane Georges in 1998 and Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Irma’s path is still unknown, but just as The Weather Channel suggests, South Mississippi should keep a close eye on her progression.

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @JustinMitchell_

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