…POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE IRMA NEARING THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS…

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…WEATHER CONDITIONS WILL DETERIORATE OVER THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS SOON…

Irma is centered as of 5 p.m. AST/EDT about 130 miles (210 km) east of Antigua, moving toward the west near 15 mph (24 km/h). A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast to begin tonight and continue for the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the extremely dangerous core of Irma will move over portions of the northern Leeward Islands tonight and early Wednesday, move near or over portions of the northern Virgin Islands Wednesday, and pass near or just north of Puerto Rico late Wednesday and Wednesday night.

Maximum sustained winds are near 185 mph (295 km/h) with higher gusts – an extremely dangerous category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. 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 60 miles (95 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). The estimated minimum central pressure is 926 mb (27.35 inches).

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten,
Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra, Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the northern border with Haiti, A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Guadeloupe, Haiti from the northern border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Southeastern Bahamas. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, and the Dominican Republic from south of Cabo Engano westward to the southern border with Haiti.

The National Hurricane Center will issue its next complete advisory at 11 p.m. AST/EDT with an intermediate advisory at 8 p.m. AST/EDT – www.hurricanes.gov

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