On Thursday afternoon, Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center and one of the country’s foremost experts on these storms, took to Twitter to offer a few capstone thoughts on the storm bearing down on Florida. “Irma has me sick to my stomach,” he wrote. “Need to be very lucky for it to miss Florida now.”
Blake lives in Miami, like the rest of the NHC forecasters, and said Irma sends “chills” down the spines of residents there. “This hurricane is as serious as any I have seen. No hype, just the hard facts. Take every life-saving precaution you can. I have little doubt Irma will go down as one of the most infamous in Atlantic hurricane history.”
This is a sobering message coming from someone like Blake, who above all preaches calm and preparedness during hurricane season. Here, he is saying that a realistic worst-case scenario hurricane is coming to the state of Florida. As we will discuss below, some questions remain about intensity and track, but parts of the state are going to get hit exceptionally hard.