by Mike Godsey, mike AT iwindsurf.com
Update: This first video is the eye of Irma with average winds of 185 mph Tuesday Morning.
What is clear is this Tuesday afternoon is that this hurricane has peak winds around 180 mph as measured by Hurricane Hunter aircraft and a dropsonde into its eye found a pressure of 927 mb. and dropping. This places it well above the threshold for a Category 5 storm.
Weak wind shear aloft, very warm 85F water temperatures and increasing humidity are factors favoring intensification.
This animation show how one model, the ECMWF, projects the trajectory of Irma from today, Tuesday Sept 5, through next Tuesday. This ECMWF model animation is not optimized for hurricane forecasting but if you look at the optimized imagery in the second image you can see that there is a lot of agreement regarding Irma’s trajectory.
Notice that some of the forecasts have Irma passing right over the mountainous backbone of Cuba. While this would be devastating for Cuba the mountains would greatly weaken and disorganize the storm which would benefit the USA.