Hurricane Irma is releasing its fury on the Bahamas and Cuba and is looking to hit Florida next likely becoming the sunshine states strongest hurricane since Charley 13 years ago.
At 5 p.m. Friday Irma was about 345 miles southeast of Miami and moving west at 12 mph. The storm has sustained winds of 155 mph and remains a category four going into the night, said an Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft.
Forecasters now believe Irma will not make as sharp of a turn east and will instead stay west as it moves up the middle of Florida. Friday hurricane warning was issued for Florida’s Sebastian Inlet around the peninsula to Anna Maria Island, the Keys, the Bahamas and the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus and Villa Clara.
Other portions of Florida are also under a hurricane watch: the Sebastian Inlet to the Flagler and Volusia county line, Anna Maria to the Suwannee River, and the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas and Matanzas.
A storm surge warning has also been issued for Sebastian Inlet to Venice and the Keys. A watch is in effect for the Sebastian Inlet to the Flagler and Volusia county line and north of Venice to the Anclote River, which includes Tampa Bay.
Right now conditions favor Irma, and the hurricane could re-attain category five intensity before making landfall in Florida. It’s possible Irma will hit the Keys as a five on Sunday morning before hitting South Florida. Upon landfall in Florida forecasters believe Irma will lose its strength and drop to a category two or one.
After moving over the state, Irma will likely hit Jacksonville Monday morning at 8 a.m. with 75 mph as a category one.
In anticipation for Irma’s fury, Disney World announced all of its theme parks will close early Saturday and remain closed through Monday. Disney resorts will still be open.