Irma becomes strongest Atlantic hurricane outside Gulf and Caribbean ever recorded

Irma becomes strongest Atlantic hurricane outside Gulf and Caribbean ever recorded, by Jenny Staleovivch at the Miami Herald.

Irma spun into a monster storm Tuesday morning with sustained winds topping 180 mph, becoming the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded outside the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, National Hurricane Center forecasters said in their 11 a.m. advisory.

As the hurricane churns closer to the U.S. coast, its path becomes more certain, with South Florida, particularly the Keys, increasingly likely to take a hit. Tropical storm force winds could arrive as early as Friday. Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties and has all 7,000 members of the state’s National Guard to report to duty on Friday.

Because Irma is so large, forecasters urged caution in paying too much attention to its exact track. The storm is continuing to roll west at 14 mph, with winds expected to begin battering the Leeward Islands today. A powerful high pressure ridge is steering the storm and will likely stay in place over the next few days, forecasters said. In five days, a trough moving across the U.S. should begin weakening the western edge of the ridge, allowing the storm to slide north. Where Irma makes the turn will determine impacts to Florida.

A reader notes:

If Irma turns a little north and hits Miami, history suggests catastrophe bonds will become exceedingly cheap and investors will make out like bandits. Bonds that today pay cash +4% would pay +12-15% for the same 2% loss runrate. After Katrina double digit returns were the norm.

Miami wind, Cal quake and Tokyo quake are the big ones.

hat-tip Andrew