Hurricane Irma is heading toward the Leeward Islands – preparations within the warning area should be rushed to completion. Irma is centered as of 8 p.m. AST/EDT about 450 miles (725 km) east of the Leeward Islands, moving toward the west near 13 mph (20 km/h) This general motion is expected to continue into Tuesday, followed by a turn toward the west-northwestward late Tuesday. On the forecast track, the center of Irma will move near or over portions of the northern Leeward Islands Tuesday night and early Wednesday.
A Hurricane Warning continues for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy. A Hurricane Watch continues for Guadeloupe, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra. A Tropical Storm Warning continues for Guadeloupe and a Tropical Storm Watch continues for Dominica.
Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area by Tuesday night, with tropical storm conditions expected by late Tuesday. Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by late Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by early Wednesday. Tropical Storm conditions are expected within the tropical storm warning area by late Tuesday.
Reports from the Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 140 mph (220 km/h) with higher gusts – a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Additional strengthening during the next 48 hours is forecast. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles (65 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km).
Users are reminded to not focus on the exact forecast track since strong winds and heavy rainfall extend well away from the center. In addition, average NHC track errors are about 175 and 225 statute miles at days 4 and 5, respectively.
For more information, including the hazards expected from Irma, go to the National Hurricane Center website at www.hurricanes.gov
The next complete advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 11 p.m. AST/EDT
Source: NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center