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Major Hurricane Larry is a large hurricane

‘So, John, How large is Larry?’

His "eye" is 50-55 miles wide, which is large enough to have Gainesville, Jacksonville and Palm Coast (and all points in between) in Larry's "eye" at the same time!
His "eye" is 50-55 miles wide, which is large enough to have Gainesville, Jacksonville and Palm Coast (and all points in between) in Larry's "eye" at the same time!

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – We have seen a few massive hurricanes over the past 5 years. Irma had a similar 50 mile wide “eye” at one time and there has been quite the uptick since 2016. There has been also been big up tick in the number of major hurricanes, especially those major hurricanes impacting the United States.

Larry is a major hurricane that will NOT directly impact the United States.

Larry will never come closer to 1000 miles to Jacksonville.

Yet, Larry is large enough that a large ground swell along with the possibility of deep, powerful rip currents to impact area beaches. And I mean all area beaches.

There are many ways to measure the size of a hurricane, one is the size of the “eye” of the hurricane. Larry’s eye has been running between 45-55 (nautical miles) or about 50-55 statute miles across. Not too shabby.

This is large enough that had it moved to say, Penney Farms (Clay County), the “eye” of Larry would be large enough such that Gainesville, Jacksonville, then south to Palm Coast could have been in the “eye” at the same time!

Whoa!

Here are some other thoughts:

  • Large “eye” storms rarely get stronger than category 3. Why? Because it takes massive amounts of energy to “spin” winds around that far apart. Imagine an ice skater spinning on the ice. The tighter (smaller) she pulls in her arms the faster she spins.
  • Often times intense category 4 and category 5 hurricanes will have a small/compact “eye” when they are at their maximum intensity. Then, as they grow in size, they lose some of their top end winds (intensity) as the “eye” expands. This often occurs during eye wall replacement.
  • Large “eye” storms create longer period wave sets. Long period means more separation between waves. These will appear on our beaches as deeper water breaking waves and these will be very wide waves.
  • These longer period waves tend to build slowly, peak slowly, and fade quickly.
  • Thursday afternoon and Friday morning may see the best waves for surfers.
4-5' surf on Thursday seems likely.

About the Author:

Our chief meteorologist lives and breathes the weather on the First Coast.