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MK:5AM Sunday Eye Of Irma About To Move Across The Lower Florida Keys Read

Miami, Fla. (970 WFLA)-At 500 AM EDT, the center of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 24.1 North, longitude 81.5 West.   Irma is ABOUT 40 miles south-southeast  of Key West, Florida about 140 miles south of Naples, Florida. 

Irma is moving toward the northwest near 8 mph.  A turn toward the north-northwest and an increase in forward speed are expected later today, with that motion continuing through Monday.  

On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should move over the Lower Florida Keys in the next few hours, then move near or over the southwestern coast of the Florida Peninsula later today through tonight.

Irma should then move inland over the Florida panhandle and southwestern Georgia Monday afternoon.Maximum sustained winds are near 130 mph  with higher gusts.  Irma is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-SimpsonHurricane Wind Scale. 

 While weakening is forecast, Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane as it moves through the Florida Keys and and near the west coast of Florida.Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles (130 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 220miles (350 km).  

The National Ocean Service station at Vaca Key, Florida recently reported sustained winds of 48 mph (78 km/h) and a gust of 78 mph (126 km/h).  A private anemometer at Alligator Reef Light, Florida recently reported a wind gust of 88 mph (141 km/h).The latest minimum central pressure reported by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is 928 mb (27.41 inches).

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for... 

* Fernandina Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to Indian Pass 

* Florida Keys 

* Lake Okeechobee 

* Florida Bay 

* Cuban provinces of Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Matanzas, and La HabanaA Hurricane Watch is in effect for...

 * North of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for... * West of Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line 

* North of Fernandina Beach to South Santee River

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for... * Bimini and Grand Bahama

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for... 

* South Santee River southward to Jupiter Inlet 

* North Miami Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to the Ochlockonee River 

* Florida Keys 

* Tampa Bay

STORM SURGE:  The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.  The water is expected to reach the following HEIGHTS ABOVE GROUND if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide...Cape Sable to Captiva...10 to 15 ft ....Captiva to Ana Maria Island...6 to 10 ft Card Sound Bridge through Cape Sable, including the Florida Keys... 5 to 10 ft Ana Maria Island to Clearwater Beach, including Tampa Bay... 5 to 8 ft North Miami Beach to Card Sound Bridge, including Biscayne Bay... 3 to 5 ft South Santee River to Fernandina Beach...4 to 6 ft Clearwater Beach to Ochlockonee River...4 to 6 ft Fernandina Beach to Jupiter Inlet...2 to 4 ft North of North Miami Beach to Jupiter Inlet...1 to 2 ftThe deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.  Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. 

The combination of a life-threatening storm surge and large breaking waves will raise water levels ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS by the following amounts within the hurricane warning area near and to the north of the center of Irma.  Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive wave

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