TALLAHASSEE - The National Weather Service in Tallahassee has issued an update to area advisories, stating that significant impacts are expected tonight through Monday from Hurricane Irma that will lead to prolonged power outages and impassable roads. Holmes and Washington Counties remain under a Tropical Storm Warning.
At 11 p.m. Sunday, Hurricane Irma was located about 250 miles southeast of Tallahassee with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph and moving north at about 14 mph.
Hurricane Irma continues to move northward over the Florida Peninsula, maintaining hurricane strength. People in the path of this storm are urged to shelter in place tonight and tomorrow through the remainder of the event, heeding instructions from local officials on any curfews in effect.
Tropical storm force winds will continue to spread inland from the Florida Big Bend through the night. Hurricane force wind gusts could begin within the next few hours in the extreme southeast Big Bend and move inland through Monday morning and early afternoon.
Overall, durations of tropical storm force winds could exceed 15 hours with a portion of this time including hurricane force winds. This prolonged period of high winds will cause widespread wind damage to trees and power lines, as well as structural damage across the area.
The NWS urges residents to seek shelter in an interior room away from doors and windows for the duration of the high winds. In addition, there is the danger of life threatening storm surge across the Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, and Dixie county coasts. Conditions will gradually improve Monday night as Irma continues northward. Anticipate impassable roads and extensive power outages in the wake of the storm.
WIND: Potential impacts from the main wind event are now unfolding across the eastern Florida Big Bend. Remain well sheltered from life-threatening wind having possible extensive impacts. If realized, these impacts include:
Major damage to frame built homes, with some experiencing partial roof or wall collapse. Numerous windows and garage doors will fail, leading to additional structural damage.
Mobile homes significantly damaged, with many destroyed. Damage increased by large projectiles. Locations may be uninhabitable for days to weeks.
Numerous large trees snapped or uprooted with roadway signs blown over.
Some primary and many secondary roads are impassible due to debris.
Significant power and communication outages; potentially lasting for weeks.
SURGE: Potential impacts from the main surge event are now unfolding acrossthe coastal Florida Big Bend. Remain well away from life-threatening surge having possible significant impacts. If realized, these impacts include:
Areas of inundation from storm surge flooding, compounded by
higher waves. Non-elevated homes and businesses along the coast will be subject to flooding primarily on the ground floor.
Sections of coastal highways and access roads will be flooded with portions washed out, isolating affected coastal communities.
Moderate beach erosion with damage to the dune line.
Moderate damage to marinas, docks, and piers. Small craft not secured prior to the storm will break away from moorings.
FLOODING RAIN: Potential impacts from the flooding rain are still unfolding across eastern Florida Big Bend and south central Georgia. Remain well guarded against life-threatening flood waters having possible extensive impacts. If realized, these impacts include:
Major flooding from rainfall will prompt evacuations in flood prone areas. Those not heeding evacuations in these locations face serious injury or death.
Rivers and associated tributary creeks and stream will rise and overflow into the flood plain. Runoff will put stress on area holding ponds and drainage ditches, increasing the likelihood of widespread urban flooding.
Flood waters will impact structures in low lying areas, as well as those in the flood plain, possibly entering buildings. Urban flooding will result in several road closures and some washouts.
A few overpasses may be weakened by fast moving flood waters.
Driving conditions are very dangerous.
TORNADOES: Potential impacts from tornadoes are still unfolding across eastern Florida Big Bend and south central Georgia. Remain well braced against a tornado event having possible limited impacts. If realized, these impacts include:
Isolated tornadoes are expected, resulting in a notable impact to affected communities.
Isolated areas affected by tornadoes will experience minor damage, including some damage to structures and sporadic power and communication outages.
A few structures will be damaged by tornadoes, mainly with loss of shingles or siding. Some mobile homes will be significantly damaged, especially those unanchored. Large trees will be snapped or uprooted.
Currently, the following watches and warnings are in effect:
Hurricane Warning: Baker, Berrien, Brooks, Calhoun, Clay, Coastal Franklin, Colquitt, Cook, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Gadsden, Grady, Inland Dixie, Inland Franklin, Inland Jefferson, Inland Taylor, Inland Wakulla, Lafayette, Lanier, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Lowndes, Madison, Miller, Mitchell, Quitman, Randolph, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, and Worth
Storm Surge Warning and Hurricane Warning: Coastal Dixie, Coastal Jefferson, Coastal Taylor, and Coastal Wakulla
Tropical Storm Warning: Ben Hill, Calhoun, Central Walton, Coastal Bay, Coastal Gulf, Coffee, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Holmes, Houston, Inland Bay, Inland Gulf, Irwin, Jackson, North Walton, South Walton, Turner, and Washington