Hurricane Irma Takes Aim At Florida

 In Domestic

Hurricane Irma has stubbornly kept her winds at between 175-180 mph, still in the Category 5 range. Caribbean Islands in her path were torn apart, with some saying they experienced 95% destruction. As she moves toward Florida now, she’s shifted slightly, placing Florida’s two nuclear plants, Turkey Point and St. Lucie in its path. An evacuation order has been placed for businesses and people on Miami beaches, with the potential for a city-wide declaration soon.

Deadly hurricane season

There are three hurricanes active in the Atlantic at the same time: Katia, Irma, and Jose. Katia is off the Gulf Cost of Mexico. Jose is still out in the Atlantic and is not expected to impact the US – of course, those may be famous last words.

Nuclear Plants

The Turkey Point and St Lucie nuclear facilities are reportedly designed to withstand storm surges, with “backups upon backups.” They say they will shut down before the hurricane makes landfall in Florida.

According to Fox,

And Turkey Point weathered a Category 5 strike from Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

When the eye of Andrew passed over Turkey Point, some facilities around the reactor buildings took a beating. Ultimately, the state’s oldest nuclear plant suffered $90 million in damage, including to systems that were supposed to be hurricane-proof.

One of the 400-foot smokestacks for the old oil-burning power plant was cracked in half, even though it was rated to survive 235-mph winds. Andrew blew down all but six of the 41 warning sirens within 10 miles of the plant. The storm left the plant running on backup generators for more than a week to cool the shut-down reactor. A main access road was blocked by debris.

“It handled Andrew as it was designed to,” Robbins said. “It’s one of the safest and most robust structures in the state, if not the country.”

screenshot- Weather Channel graphic

Crawling up the East Coast?

Hurricane Irma forecast models are still unclear as to the direction she will go, and authorities believe she will lose more strength in the days to come. But whether it’s a category 3 or 4 when she makes landfall, it will still be a wide swath of destruction. Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas are all under a hurricane watch until Irma comes closer. This is the latest Weather Channel projection:

As this destructive beast moves closer, the models may change, but it seems that Florida is in Irma’s crosshairs regardless which way she moves.

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