TAMPA, FL - "The storm weakened as it raked Cuba. As Irma approached Southwest Florida, where its eye would fall was a guessing game, said Mark Luther, a University of South Florida oceanographer who studied National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data showing Irma’s strength and path.
Even with weaker winds, “If it veers to the left of us, we’re going to get hammered,” Luther said, because the storm would lift the shallow waters of the bay and shove up to 12 feet of water on land. But it stayed well to the east. “The storm also moved quickly through the area so that the winds didn’t have time to push as much water toward the coast and up the bay,” Luther said."