Irma Update

I am pretty much finished packing my car for hurricane chasing, which is no small task. I got my car in the shop this morning getting some fuses replaced and my tires rotated. After that I just need to hook up my hitch rack that carries all my gas cans and I’m good to go. It’s a very different setup vs tornado chasing. No antennas (because you need to keep a low profile for parking garages), no amplifiers, I don’t have cameras facing every direction, etc. Basically I have a lot less electronics and a lot more survival gear. I have a bed in back, gear for fixing flat tires quickly, a shit load of water, towels and everything else you’d need to live out of your car for a week. It was a two day pain in the ass getting all of it prepped and loaded and I wrapped it up just in time for the models to shift the track of Irma. After being it what was basically lockstep, the Models started showing more spread on the track with the GFS turning Irma north before it reached Florida with yesterday’s 12Z run. Although the NAM didn’t go out far enough, at 84 hours it was pretty close to being in line with the GFS. The euro held with a more western solution taking Irma up the west side of Florida until last night. Now it’s falling in line with the GFS. So as of now, my best guess is the eye of Irma will miss Florida to the east. NHC started hedging their bets on the latest update and shifted their track farther east, but they haven’t fully moved it in line with the GFS. I wouldn’t either if I were them because that would likely get the public to drop their guard a little and there’s still too much uncertainty for that. I am not going all the way to Florida unless there is going to be a land falling eye with a major hurricane. Irma skirting the coast wouldn’t bring the strongest winds off the NE quadrant on shore and that is what I’m after. So here I wait, trying to make a decision on what I’m doing. I need to make the call by this afternoon. I won’t miss a major hurricane, but again the strongest winds currently look like they’ll miss Florida to the east so my guess is I won’t be chasing this one. I’m waiting for this mornings 12Z runs to firm that up. The models have Irma then swinging into South Carolina, but it should be a weaker hurricane by then. It takes a major hurricane for me to chase, so I seriously doubt I’d make the trip to South Carolina, although that would be a hell of a lot easier to manage than a Miami chase. We’ll see. I’m keeping the car loaded so I’m ready to bounce anytime. Zoobilee is also this weekend and I hate to miss that, so it will take no less than a cat 3 eyewall coming ashore to pull me away from that. I might post some pics on here showing my equipment all packed up. I put all that work into it so I might as well get something out of it. I also think it’s helpful for any chasers who haven’t gone for a hurricane before because it’s a totally different deal than chasing tornadoes and it’s easy to overlook some things that could keep you out of trouble. If I do post on that I’ll go over my plan for if I was chasing Miami. I put a lot of work and thought into where I would setup and ride out the hurricane if it hit there. Anyway, I’ll update later after I see this mornings runs. 

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