Irma is now a monster of a hurricane – a Category 5 system with 175 mile-per-hour winds – as it bears down on the Leeward Islands. And its core is still on track to move dangerously near or over portions of the island chain’s north tonight and early tomorrow.
At 8 a.m., Irma was about 270 miles east of Antigua and 280 miles east southeast of Barbuda, and moving towards the west at 14 miles per hour.
That general motion is expected to continue today, followed by a turn toward the west northwest tonight. Forecasters say any delay in that shift could see Irma moving directly over the Leeward Islands.
And which some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, Irma, on the highest category on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.
“Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area in the Leeward Islands by tonight, with tropical storm conditions beginning later today,” the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said.
Timing for Potential Impact of Hurricane Irma
- Leeward Islands: Late Today-Wednesday
- Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands: Wednesday- early Thursday
- Dominican Republic/Haiti: Thursday- early Friday
- Turks and Caicos: Late Thursday-Friday
- Bahamas: Friday-this weekend
- Cuba: Friday-this weekend
Irma is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches across the northern Leeward Islands, the British and US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
Hurricane and storm watches and warnings have been issued for several islands.
Hurricane warnings have been issued for the northern Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. This includes Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Vieques and Culebra.
And both a hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning have been issued for Guadeloupe, and a tropical storm warning is in effect for Dominica.
A hurricane watch is also now in effect for the north coast of the Dominican Republic, from Cabo Engano to the Haiti border; while a tropical storm watch is in effect for the Dominican Republic from south of Cabo Engao to Isla Saona.
Source: Caribbean 360