TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - The National Weather Services says that Irma is forecast to restrengthen once it moves away from Cuba and toward Florida.
As of now, Irma remains a category 3 hurricane.
In their 5 p.m. update, NWS said that Irma is moving toward the west-northwest near 9 mph (15 km/h). A northwest motion is expected to begin Saturday night with a turn toward the north-northwest on Sunday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 125 mph (205 km/h) with higher gusts.
Experts are worried about storm surge, writing that the water is expected to reach the following heights above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide.
Hurricane conditions are expected in portions of the northwestern Bahamas Saturday night, and in portions of the Florida peninsula and the Florida Keys beginning Sunday morning.
Irma is expected to produce the following rain accumulations through Wednesday:
- Northern Cuba: 10 to 15 inches, isolated 20 inches
- Southern Cuba: 5 to 10 inches, isolated 15 inches
- Western Bahamas: 3 to 6 inches, isolated 10 inches
- The Florida Keys: 10 to 20 inches, isolated 25 inches
- The Florida peninsula and southeast Georgia: 8 to 15 inches,
- isolated 20 inches
- The eastern Florida Panhandle and southern South Carolina: 4 to 8
- inches, isolated 10 inches
- Rest of eastern Georgia, western South Carolina, and western North
- Carolina: 4 to 8 inches
- Western Georgia, eastern and northern Alabama, and southern
- Tennessee: 2 to 5 inches
In all areas this rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods and, in some areas, mudslides.
NWS says a few tornadoes are possible this evening and tonight over south Florida, expanding northward into central Florida on Sunday.