Walton County EOC Activated to Level 2
According to Walton EOC official FB page: Unfortunately the track shifted west and we are just at the edge of the cone of uncertainty. That shift brings the possibility of Irma moving straight up the center of the peninsula, which is a worst case scenario for that portion of the State. Since the track has changed, almost the entire peninsula will be initiating mandatory evacuations. Walton County may be assisting with host sheltering operations of evacuees from other areas of the State. THERE ARE NO EVACUATIONS FOR WALTON COUNTY. Due to the potential for host sheltering operations, the Walton County EOC will be activated to a Level 2 at 0800hrs on September 8, 2017.
* Maximum sustained winds are near 165 mph with higher gusts, keeping Irma a category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind scale.
* Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful hurricane due to low wind shear and favorable sea-surface temperatures.
* Irma continues moving quickly toward the west-northwest near 16 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue for the next day or two along with a decrease in forward speed.
* On the forecast track, the core of Irma will move across the Turks and Caicos Islands tonight and then between Cuba and the central Bahamas on tomorrow.
* The core of Irma is forecast to approach South Florida and the Florida Keys by Sunday while beginning a northward turn.
* Exactly when the turn occurs is still uncertain and would make a huge difference in the level of impact to portions of South and Central Florida.
* As a reminder, do not focus on the center line of the forecast cone. The center of Irma still has the potential to move anywhere within the cone of uncertainty. Models have still not come into complete agreement and there was a small west shift in the cone this afternoon.
* Even if the center eventually remains offshore, impacts could be felt along much of the Florida Peninsula due to the large size of the storm. Tropical Storm force winds extend out 185 miles from the center, and hurricane force 70 miles.
* At 5pm EDT Thursday, Hurricane Jose was located 590 miles east of the Leeward Islands, which is about 2,000 miles southeast of Miami, Florida.
* Maximum sustained winds have increased to 120 mph, which is a Category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
* Additional strengthening is expected and Jose could be a category 4 by Friday. After that, some weakening is likely.
* Jose is expected to continue moving towards the west-northwest, approaching the northern Leeward Islands this weekend before turning more northwest and north.
* Beyond 4 days, the track for Jose is also uncertain as some models predict the Jose could stall in the western Atlantic.
* At 5pm EDT Thursday, Hurricane Katia was located in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico about 350 miles south-southeast of the U.S./Mexico border, or about 890 miles west-southwest of Key West, Florida.
* Maximum sustained winds are near 80mph, making Katia a Category 1 hurricane. Gradual strengthening to Cat 2 is forecasted.
* Katia is stationary and little overall motion is anticipated tonight. The hurricane is forecast to turn southwestward and approach the coast of eastern Mexico late Friday or early Saturday.
* All of the Florida Peninsula and Florida Big Bend lie within the NHC 5 day cone of error and could feel impacts from this system regardless of the eventual path.
* Hurricane Watches are in effect for all counties in South Florida, which includes the keys. Storm Surge watches are in effect for coastal regions of South Florida and the keys. Hurricane and storm surge watches are likely tonight or early tomorrow for Central Florida.
* The chances for tropical storm and hurricane winds continue to increase for the Florida Peninsula.
* There is currently a 1 in 2 chance of hurricane force winds across the Treasure Coast and Southeast Florida, as well as the upper Florida Keys within the next 5 days.
* Wind impacts to South Florida from Irma could occur as early as early Saturday morning, with the most likely timeframe for tropical storm force winds arriving Saturday afternoon. Hurricane force winds could arrive in Southeast Florida early Sunday morning.
* A storm of this size and intensity would have the ability to produce dangerous storm surge heights across portions of South Florida, the Florida Keys and the Florida East Coast. Dangerous storm surge could also occur along the West coast due to westerly winds on the south side of the storm as it moves northward.
* 5-10’ of storm surge is currently being forecasted by the Hurricane Center of South Florida and the Keys.
* In addition, rainfall amounts could reach as high as 10-15”, but specifics on the location of high rainfall totals is still uncertain and dependent on the track of the system.
* Ocean swells from Irma have already reached South Florida and will produce a moderate to high risk of rip currents from today through the weekend.
* Hurricane Jose does not pose a threat to Florida within the next 5-7 days, but should be monitored.
* Hurricane Katia does not pose a threat to Florida, but ocean swells from the system may affect portions of the Panhandle coast over the weekend and increase the rip current risk.
Walton County Actions:
* The Walton County EOC will be activated to a Level 2 – Partial Activation beginning at 0800hrs on September 8, 2018 to possibly support host sheltering operations. ESFs and positions to be activated are as follows:
* Incident Command
* Operations Section Chief
* Planning Section Chief
* ESF15 – Volunteers and Donations Unit (The Matrix)
* ESF6 – Mass Care (American Red Cross)
* ESF16 – Law Enforcement (WCSO)
Once again, at this time, there are no evacuations for Walton County.