NWS: Hurricane Irma could lead to rain, wind, rising rivers in region

Enlarge  12z European operational model landfall location for Hurricane

Enlarge 12z European operational model landfall location for Hurricane

Irma tracking map as of 5 a.m.

Hurricane Irma could bring rain, but no punishing winds, to Ashtabula County and northeast OH next week, according to the National Weather Service. "If a mandatory evacuation is issued, you are strongly urged to leave".

Strong wind gusts up to 39 miles per hour are also forecast for Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands from Sunday night through Monday night.

The Weather Channel warned that "Irma will remain an intense hurricane, at least Category 4, as it approaches South Florida this weekend, with potential devastating impacts".

Here is the latest map for Irma's predicted path from the National Hurricane Center. Damage to mobile homes and power outages should be expected.

Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 89.

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Current forecast tracks have Irma's most likely impact running into the south of the state, tracking up the center of the Florida Peninsula.

Both Schmid and Stanfield said many hotels that normally don't accept pets were altering their policies for people leaving Florida and Georgia ahead of Irma. "No one can help them".

Winds will be higher over the eastern half of the state, Stefkovich said.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said that he traveled on Thursday to meet with local officials and to ensure communities that they have the resources they need.

Folks farther up the coast should expect similar effects, the weather service said, while folks inland and north of Florida should expect weaker, yet still very risky hurricane conditions. "Additional watches should be expected", a statement on the governor's website read. Minor flood inundation of generally 1 foot above ground or less is also possible for the western portions of the Pamlico & Albemarle Sounds, and oceanside locations. The deadly hurricane pushed through the Bahamas and onto Cuba on Friday, and it has already caused destruction across the Caribbean.

The Island Free Press will continue to monitor Irma and will post updates as soon as they are available.

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