Why Hurricane Irma will be a storm to remember

KUSA - As people in Texas start to rebuild the damages left from Harvey, Hurricane Irma is making its way to Florida.

"Harvey was basically known because it obviously dropped huge amounts of rain, so it's a flooding storm," said Phil Klotzbach. Klotzbach is a research scientist at Colorado State University. He specializes in Atlantic basin seasonal hurricanes. "This storm definitely is going to be much known for its winds."

No other storm recorded in history has maintained top winds of 185 miles per hour for a day and a half. 

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"We've seen storms like Katrina but even those, they blow up and they weaken... they don't just usually stay this strong," Klotzbach said.

The meteorologist said Irma got to its size because the environment was just right. According to Klotzbach, the warm ocean water, low levels of vertical wind shear, and the high levels of moisture created the monstrous category 5 storm.

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"It's been one of the strongest storms on record and it looks like it's gonna probably be making close to that intensity up to landfall. So definitely a very, very serious storm," Klotzbach said. 

The damages left in the Caribbean islands already show the severity of Irma. 

"To me, the damages looks more like what a damage a tornado would do than what a hurricane would do," Klotzbach said. "The storm surge will wipe stuff out, but the winds of hurricanes while they’re strong, it doesn’t look like buildings are obliterated… that’s more like what you see from a tornado. And this almost looks like a tornado kind of winds." 

The last Category 5 hurricane to hit Florida was Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Klotzbach said Andrew was an intense storm but very small in comparison to the size of Irma. He believes Irma will have a greater damage to Florida than Hurricane Andrew. 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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