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Irma Flooding Likely Won’t Rival Harvey’s, But Florida Gets Ready

This visible light image of Hurricane Irma was captured by NOAA's GOES East satellite as it strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane in the Central Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 5 at 7:45 a.m. EDT

Florida water managers are bracing for Hurricane Irma’s deluge.

But widespread flooding is NOT expected.

More than 10 inches of rain is forecast for the Florida east coast, hardly the torrent that swamped Texas as Hurricane Harvey stalled over the state.

Chris Emrich of the University of Central Florida expects Irma will be faster moving but says its latest projected tracks along the coast mean storm surge is the bigger threat.

“If I was a coastal resident I would be very cautious about flooding from storm surge simply because the storm is riding on the east coast, and the counter-clockwise rotation of the winds around the storm will push water directly west into the coastal areas.”

Florida is home to some of the world’s most elaborate water management infrastructure. Water managers are emptying Lake Okeechobee and other waterways in advance of the storm.


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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »