Lee’s note: I just posted this on the Herald-Tribune site. We are going to provide live coverage of Hurricane Irma throughout the duration of the storm.
11:30 a.m. — SNN-TV meteorologist Marco La Manno just told me Hurricane Irma has made a “good shift” for Sarasotans.
“It’s not jogging northwest as expected. It’s mainly continuing due north,” he said, adding that the hurricane could make landfall “two counties south.”
Marco predicts the hurricane could hit the Sarasota area as either a “strong Cat.2 or a weak Cat.3.”
He expects hurricane force winds to arrive in our area by 8-9 p.m., and to depart around 5-6 a.m.
10 a.m. — Herald-Tribune editor Victor Hull, reporter Carlos Munoz and I, along with our families and pets, are safely ensconced in our newspaper’s former building on Sarasota’s Main Street.
We will be providing live updates on Hurricane Irma throughout the duration of the storm.
The building is a hardened structure, supposedly Category 3 rated, now occupied by SNN-TV. It’s become a hurricane shelter, of sorts.
All of the TV station’s staff, along with some of their families and pets, are camping out in old offices in the mostly vacant building.
The place is alive with barks, yips and the occasional growl.
According to the National Weather Service, the hurricane’s winds have slowed a bit to 130 mph.
There’s not much evidence of the storm yet downtown. So far, we’re seeing just a bit of rain and steady winds, but there’s the occasional strong gust that lets you know much more is on the way.
The weather service said tropical storm force winds were expected to begin any minute now.
Please check back throughout the day for more updates.