As the west coast of Florida braces for a direct hit from powerful Hurricane Irma, the inlet at the northern tip of Palm Beach is no longer in a storm-surge warning, according to the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center.
The inlet, known as the Lake Worth Inlet, was within the area where the storm-surge warning was discontinued. That area stretches between the Jupiter Inlet and North Miami Beach. The Treasure Coast continues to be under a storm surge warning.
The area was taken out of the storm-surge warning after the the storm’s projected track shifted slightly to the west. Palm Beach was not included in hurricane advisories at 11 a.m. today.
The hurricane center’s 7 a.m. update said the northern “eyewall” of the hurricane had reached the lower Florida Keys as a Category 3 storm with sustained 130-mph winds. The storm was moving northwest at 8 mph.
Palm Beach and the rest of Palm Beach County are expected to experience tropical storm-force winds today up to 54 mph, with some gusts at Category 1-strength of at least 75 mph. as Irma makes its way north through Florida. The storm’s size means that areas far from the hurricane’s center will experience strong winds and rain.
The storm surge warning continues into effect for the area south of the Santee River to the Jupiter Inlet and from North Miami Beach south around the Florida peninsula to the Ochlockonee River. The Florida Keys and Tampa Bay are also in the warning.
Areas in a storm surge warning are in “danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline during the next 36 hours,” according to the advisory.
Because Palm Beach is a barrier island, officials have long warned residents of flooding dangers resulting from possible storm surge during a hurricane. The worry is that massive amounts of water from the ocean would be pushed through the inlet toward the Port of Palm Beach and into the Intracoastal Waterway. The waterway, known in Palm Beach as the Lake Worth Lagoon, would then overflow the seawall, flooding streets and homes in low-lying areas.
Staff writers Kimberly Miller and Charles Elmore contributed to this story.