As of 10pm, the National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Irma is a category 3 storm. Maximum sustained winds are 120mph. Wind gusts to near hurricane force are beginning to happen in the Florida Keys.
Irma is starting to make a turn to the NW and should continue to move towards Key West — towards the center of pressure drop.
Storms tend to move towards areas of greatest drops in atmospheric pressure. Tracking the “pressure drops” can give indications where a hurricane will track in the short term.
As the center of Irma moves out over open water, I think the storm will start to pick up a little speed in next couple hours.
The largest impact from Hurricane Irma continues to look like storm surge pushing in to the coastal areas of southwest Florida. Potential storm surge projections are eye-opening. Keep in mind, these products are designed for emergency managers to see “worst case” scenarios so they can make appropriate decisions.
If the above projection were to work out, this would be catastrophic to the Fort Myers area.