Historical Tracking Map of 2017 Atlantic Storm Irma
Historical Tracking Map of 2017 Atlantic Storm Irma

First thing is first:  Irma is huge, and if it gets into the hot Gulf of Mexico, and if it targets close to us, then it will be a major threat.... However, this is why I don't think it is appropriate to stress about Irma at this time.

  1.  Storms of this size require a lot of energy to maintain composure over time.  This means that there is a high probability that before it even gets to the Gulf of Mexico that it will "implode" and collapse on itself.   In this case, we have waves of moisture to deal with, but no destructive winds.
  2. The track.   Below, you have a graph of the current track of Irma and the archived track of the beginning of Harvey.  Irma is projected to pass north of Cuba.  Harvey, well to the south. Traditionally, storms that pass north of Cuba do not pose a significant threat to us.
  3. Cuba.  If the track is adjusted and the storm passes a little further south, Cuba has mountains that destroy storms.  Politically, Cuba may or may not be a foe.  Meteorologically speaking, Cuba is always our friend.
  4. Time.  This storm is far away.  If it were to make a beeline to us, it could take more than 2 weeks to get to us.  Projections are only fairly accurate for 3 days.  They are grossly accurate for 5 days.  Anything beyond 5 days is pure speculation.  By the attached graph, you can see that in 5 days, it won't even be touching Cuba.

When should I begin to stress?

I would be aware of this storm, and check on it in about a week, or a week and a half.  Ignore the hype, Ignore the press.  They feed off of our fears.  Don't give them that power.  Now, in about a week and a half, IF that storm has survived passing Cuba and IF the proposed track points to Terrebonne Parish or just to the west of us, THEN make reservations for a resort of your choice.  But, frankly, I don't think that this storm will be a threat to coastal Barataria.  I think that there is a high probability of Irma being a "fish storm."  The only living things that Irma will threaten are fish, because it will curve north and circle east before it hits the mainland.

Pay attention, but don't stress.  Stress never helps anything.  Stressing needlessly destroys our lives.  Now is not the time to stress.  It is time to live.  Check back with the weather in a week to see where it is.  Then, we should have an idea of what this storm is about.

Thanks for reading,

Jay C. Theriot