Forecasters have known for days that Irma is going to turn northward toward the mainland USA, but they did not know when exactly that would happen-and in this case the "when" makes all the difference for where the storm finally hits, what kind of damage it might do and the ability of officials to order evacuations as early as possible.
Depending on how the hurricane shifts, central Alabama could be looking at wind gusts of 25-35 miles per hour and one to three inches of rain, mainly in the eastern portion.
Irma, the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, won't be as powerful once it makes landfall and moves north.
As Hurricane Irma remains on track to travel up Florida's middle, Jose had spun into a Category 4 storm, but would likely weaken, according to forecasters.
Track updates on the hurricane with the National Weather Service here.
The offices, which usually launch their daily data-collecting weather balloons every 12 hours, are stepping up the pace.
The balloons rise to 80,000 to 100,000 feet before deflating and slowly falling downwind, the office said. This information gets plugged into weather models to provide the initial conditions for forecasts. The forecast is tracking more West as it heads inland. Category 3 hurricane strength.
"Heavy rains from Irma will spread over north and central Georgia beginning Monday morning and continuing through Monday night", the NWS said in a statement on its website.
Irma might bring severe weather to Athens, but its effects might also be mild.
Hydrological and software development experts at FIU's International Hurricane Research Center and College of Engineering and Computing worked with Miami-Dade County to create a web-based application that allows users to visualize the impact of storm surge.