A week after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, another powerful storm system is looming. But forecasters say it is too early to determine where Hurricane Irma, a Category 3 storm with 115-mile-per-hour winds that was moving west in the Atlantic Ocean early on Friday, would have any impact on land, if at all.
“Right now it is more than 2,500 miles away from the U.S. mainland, or at least seven to 10 days away,” Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said in a telephone interview on Friday.
“Everybody breathe,” he said. “We are O.K.”
The hurricane center said early on Friday that Irma was more than 800 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands, and was expected to move west over the next few days — a typical weather pattern of storms in tradewinds off the coast of Africa.
The prospect of a new hurricane making landfall so soon after Harvey drenched entire cities with record rainfall and flooding may fill Americans with dread. An enormous aid effort is still underway, trying to help entire communities recover.
But when a hurricane is more than five days away, the reliability of tracking models diminishes, which means that weather forecasters advise being more watchful of Hurricane Irma than fearful.
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