11 PM UPDATE: Irma strengthens back to Category 5, Hurricane Warnings issued for Pinellas, Polk counties

Hurricane Irma

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Bay is now under a Storm Surge Watch as a very dangerous Category 5 Hurricane Irma barrels toward Florida. Irma is more than 500 miles wide, which is wider than the state of Florida.

As of 11 p.m. Friday, the hurricane is 300 miles from Miami. Sustained winds are blowing at 160 mph.

“These watches and warnings are the same ones in place earlier, meaning storm conditions will arrive sooner in southern areas,” said Storm Team 8 Chief Meteorologist Steve Jerve of the 11 p.m. update.

“Right now, the thought is Sunday at 8 a.m., possibly landfall, central Keys, maybe a little bit further west, with 150 mph winds.”

Hurricane warnings have been extended northward along the Florida peninsula, including in Pinellas and Polk counties.

“For those who have not been through a hurricane before, when we say ‘very serious,’ we’re talking about high winds, especially. That’s going to be going on especially on Sunday,” said Steve.

The Storm Surge Warning has been extended northward to the Volusia/Brevard County line and on the west coast to Anclote River, including Tampa Bay.

The Hurricane Warning has been extended northward on the east coast of Florida to the Volusia/Brevard County Line and on the west coast

of Florida to Anclote River.

The Storm Surge Watch has been extended northward on the west coast of Florida to Suwanee River.

The Hurricane Watch has been extended northward on the east coast of Florida to Fernandina Beach and on the west coast of Florida to Indian Pass.

“The Tampa Bay area can still expect hurricane force winds and heavy rain starting up Sunday afternoon,” said Steve.  

HURRICANE IRMA COVERAGE –

BE HURRICANE-READY WITH STORM TEAM 8

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