Where will Irma go?
No one truly knows yet, including the National Football League.
And that’s why, as of Tuesday morning, no decision had been made on when exactly the Dolphins and Buccaneers will open their season.
But that decision should come in the next 24 hours.
The game is still (tentatively) scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium — precisely the time Irma could be over South Florida.
The 8 a.m. advisory revealed Hurricane Irma had strengthened to a massive Category 5, and remained on track to, at the very least, roll through the Florida Keys.
The storm keeps toggling west, and long-term models suggest the Gulf Coast at Florida might be at more risk than the I-95 corridor, but it’s still far to know when exactly it will turn north.
And even if Miami isn’t hit directly by Irma, expected to be at least a Category 4 when it makes landfall, forecasters believe we’ll experience tropical-storm force winds by 8 p.m. Friday.
Could those conditions preclude the team from playing that night? Is Thursday a more likely option? Or might the game even get moved? We should know by early Wednesday, at the latest.
The team as of Tuesday morning was monitoring the storm closely and in frequent contact with the NFL, Dolphins, Buccaneers and government officials. ESPN reported the league has scheduled a Tuesday morning conference call to decide whether to play or postpone the game. That call reportedly ended without resolution, but it’s looking less and less likely that the game will be held in Miami.
Hard Rock Stadium, which in recent years underwent a half-billion renovation project, is built to withstand a Category 4 hurricane. But even if it isn’t hit directly, there are a number of other issues that could determine when the game will be played. Most notably: staffing a game with local police and over 1,000 game-day employees.