BOSTON (CBS) – It almost doesn’t seem fair. As Florida prepares for one of the worst hurricanes in its history, our weather here in New England couldn’t be better.
Watch Live: CBS Miami Coverage Of Hurricane Irma
This begs the question though. What kind of impact could Hurricane Irma have on us here in the Northeast? More often than not, when hurricanes take a turn into the Gulf of Mexico or into the southeastern United States, they end up exiting through New England, shunted out by the strong westerlies across the northern tier of the Country.
Just look back a few weeks ago. When Hurricane Harvey finally decided to move on from Texas, it was pulled northeast through the Ohio Valley and into New England. Thankfully, by the time it got here it was nothing more than a few downpours.
We are not always that lucky. Just look at hurricanes Irene (2011) and Floyd (1999) for example. After making initial landfall in North Carolina, both of those hurricanes had a significant wind and rain impact on New England. The main difference: time spent over land.
The more time a hurricane spends over land before reaching New England, the better chance it will weaken significantly by the time it gets here. Why is this the case? Hurricanes are fueled by warm ocean waters.
Once they lose that fuel source and encounter various topography over land, they undergo a rapid and continuous weakening.
So bottom line. What can we expect here from Irma?
Irma’s set to make landfall somewhere on the Florida Keys pre-dawn Sunday, then hug the west coast of Florida, potentially making another landfall near Sarasota before moving northward near Tampa.
She will still be a major hurricane tomorrow, then weaken as she interacts with land to a Tropical Storm by Monday over Georgia.
Catastrophic damage for the sunshine state will result with life threatening storm on both coasts and major erosion. Florida residents can expect widespread wind damage with long term power loss and localized flooding with 5-10” of rain (up to 20” in spots) along with the threat for weak, isolated tornadoes.
The few showers that remain by Wednesday will try to make a run at New England, but a strong high pressure area parked over the northeast will likely block most if not all of the wet weather from getting here.
Bottom line, no impact, no worries here in New England from Irma.
So let’s count our blessings, be thankful and keep those in Florida in our thoughts.
Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ