Hurricane watches have been issued for Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saba, St Eustatius, Sint Maarten, St Martin and Saint Barthelemy, as Hurricane Irma approaches the northern Leeward Islands.
The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) also says interests in the remainder of the Leeward Islands, the British and US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico should monitor the progress of the hurricane which, at 5 p.m., remained at Category 3 status with 115 mile-per-hour winds.
At that time it was about 790 miles east of the Leeward Islands and moving towards the west at 14 miles per hour.
A westward to west-southwestward motion with some reduction in forward speed is expected through tomorrow night.
“On the forecast track, the centre of Irma is forecast to approach the northern Leeward Islands late Tuesday…Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours,” the NHC said.
It added that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area by Tuesday night, with tropical storm conditions possible by late Tuesday.