Hurricane Irma, as of this writing, is heading toward the Bahamas. It appears to be bound for Florida this weekend, where Hurricane watches are now in effect.

Just how big is Irma? This is what it would look like if it were affecting Iowa. As you can see, most of Iowa would be underneath it. Thank goodness that's not the case.

Iowa State University Department of Agronomy
Iowa State University Department of Agronomy

Irma is currently packing winds of 180 miles-per-hour. That makes it a Category 5 hurricane, the worst on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Here in Iowa, we're obviously familiar with tornadoes. If Irma were a twister, it would be a Category 3 on the Fujita scale. A Category 3 tornado has winds of 158 to 206 miles-per hour. The big difference, as you know, is that tornadoes do their damage in a very short time. Hurricanes move slow and just continue to pound buildings and the landscape while dumping huge amounts of water.

Hurricane Harvey just reminded us what a major hurricane can do to the U.S. mainland. Irma has all of our attention, and rightfully so. Our thoughts and prayers certainly go out to everyone who is in its path.

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