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Forecaster says New England might dodge Irma impact

Hurricane Irma tracked over Saint Martin and the Leeward Islands in this satellite image taken Wednesday morning.NASA/NOAA GOES Project via Associated Press

It looks like Hurricane Irma might not pay New England a visit, experts say.

“As best we can tell right now, as of right now, there is no immediate threat to New England,” said Glenn Field, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton.

“I think we’re OK. I don’t want to give the all-clear. ... But there’s no cause for alarm at this point,” he said.

Field said the supercomputer models that experts at the National Hurricane Center use to predict the path of hurricanes suggest right now that the storm will track up the coast of Florida and then into the Carolinas.

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“There is a cause for alarm if you’re in the Southeastern United States right now, from the Florida coast to the Carolina coast,” he said. “Everywhere from Florida to the Carolinas is under the gun.”

At the same time, he said, people in New England “certainly need to keep a close eye” on forecasts from the center and review their hurricane preparation plans.

If New England does see some effects from Irma, it wouldn’t be until next Tuesday or Wednesday, he said. The remnants of Irma, now a fearsome Category 5, might by that time just consist of showers.

Dave Dombek, a meteorologist with Accuweather, said Irma could bring New England some “enhanced” rain, but “that’s probably about the extent of it.”

The storm is likely to go inland somewhere over the Southeast, where it will “mill around there for a couple of days” before getting absorbed into a front and bringing some rain to New England.

Irma swept into the Caribbean with record-setting force early Wednesday, slamming small islands known to many as sunsplashed tropical getaways. Governor Rick Scott of Florida warned residents that the storm was “bigger than Andrew.”

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National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini said Hurricane Irma, which was packing sustained winds of 185 miles per hour, is so strong it’s impossible to hype.


Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.