Hurricane Irma intensifies to a Category 3 with 115 mph winds

Posted at 9:52 AM, Aug 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-04 06:41:03-04

At  5 a.m. Monday, the National Hurricane Center said Irma is a Category 3 with 115 mph winds. Some strengthening is forecast through Tuesday night.

Irma is moving toward the west-southwest near 14 mph (22 km/h). A turn toward the west is expected later today, followed by a west-northwestward turn late Tuesday.

HURRICANE IRMA | Look at real-time tracking maps & Hurricane Center

Governor Scott urges families to prepare for Hurricane Irma

On the forecast track, the center of Irma will move closer to the Leeward Islands through Tuesday and then be near the northern Leeward Islands Tuesday night.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles (45 km) from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km).

A hurricane watch is in effect for:

  • Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, and Nevis
  • Saba, St. Eustatius, and Sint Maarten
  • Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy

A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

Interests in the remainder of the Leeward Islands, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic should monitor the progress of Irma. Additional hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings will likely be required for portions of this area later Monday.

The track for Irma takes the storm up through the Bahamas by the end of the week.

The impact for the United States is still very unclear. In fact, there is still a chance that Irma could turn out to sea without even touching the U.S.

However, there is also a chance that Irma could have an impact anywhere from Florida to the Carolinas next weekend.

Florida residents need to pay close attention to this storm and be thinking about having a plan ready if necessary.