How big is Hurricane Irma compared to Colorado?

Posted at 5:27 PM, Sep 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-08 00:09:00-04

DENVER -- If you've been glued to social media and have been following meteorologists from across the U.S., you have more than likely seen at least one of them post a comparison of the size of Hurricane Irma to a state within the U.S. 

While the trend hasn't caught up with us here in Colorado, Denver7 wanted to find out exactly how big the Category 5 hurricane was to the Centennial state. 

According to Denver7 First Alert Weather Meteorologist Stacey Donaldson, Hurricane Irma had maximum sustained winds of 175 mph, which puts the size of the hurricane at 350 miles wide -- pretty much as big as Colorado, which is 380 miles wide. 

How big is the eye of the hurricane? 

A report from the New York Daily News states the eye of Hurricane Irma is estimated to be between 30 to 40 miles across, which is essentially the distance from Kipling Street to the outskirts of Denver International Airport (see image below).

Colorado scientists tracking a powerful Irma 

Scientists at Colorado State University are playing an integral role in predicting Hurricane Irma’s path and strength.

Satellite data gathered by CSU scientists is used to create forecast tools used by forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Florida.
"This is just an extremely mesmerizing powerful storm. I get a lump in my throat, really every time I turn on the imagery and take a look," said CSU’s Andrea Schumacher.
"Very early on Irma took on a really classic strong hurricane shape, that really round thick overcast, and then the very clear eye," she said.
Schumacher believes the impact could be widespread.

"They're talking about the size of Irma is such that regardless of where it makes landfall in Florida, it's impacts are going to be felt throughout the whole state."
A personal quest for Schumacher who has family ties to Florida.
"We're from there, we have family there, that's actually we're in this field a lot of the time, because we do see how devastating these situations are."