Posted: Tuesday, September 5, 2017. 8:57 a.m. CST.
By BBN Staff: This morning, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that Irma is now an extremely dangerous category 5 hurricane. The NHC says that preparations should be rushed to completion in the hurricane warning area.
Irma is now about 270 miles east of Antigua and about 280 miles east southeast of Barbuda. Irma has maximum sustained winds of 175 miles per hour and continues to move west at 14 miles per hour.
The government of the Dominican Republic has issued a Hurricane Watch from Cabo Engano to the northern border with Haiti and a Tropical Storm Watch from south of Cabo Engao to Isla Saona.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, and Nevis
* Saba, St. Eustatius, and Saint Maarten
* Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy
* British Virgin Islands
* U.S. Virgin Islands
* Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the northern border with
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* Dominican Republic from south of Cabo Engao to Isla Saona
According to the NHC, the eye center of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 16.7 North, longitude 57.7 West. Irma is moving toward the west near 14 mph (22 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue today, followed by a turn toward the west-northwest tonight.
On the forecast track, the dangerous core of Irma will move near or over portions of the northern Leeward Islands tonight and early Wednesday.
Reports from NOAA and U.S. Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate Irma continues to strengthen and maximum sustained winds have increased to near 175 mph (280 km/h) with higher gusts.
Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km).
The latest estimated minimum central pressure from aircraft data is 929 mb (27.44 inches).
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