Its tropical storm-strength winds extend outward up to 90 miles - meaning these strong winds have already reached Puerto Rico and the Antilles Islands.
Hurricane Irma is expected to strengthen to possibly a Category 4 hurricane as it moves towards the Caribbean.
Expect warmer and uncomfortable conditions over the weekend, as Hurricane Irma continues its journey westward across the Atlantic. Hurricane Hunter aircraft are en route to Irma tasked with collecting data from inside the storm. Irma is expected to strengthen heading into the middle of next week to a possible Category 4 storm. There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.
The bottom line is Irma is still more than 2,000 miles away from Southwest Florida and it's still far too early to speculate the exact path Irma will take.
"Environmental conditions are conducive for gradual development during the next few days, and a tropical depression could form by the end of the week while the system moves westward to west-northwestward at about 10 miles per hour over the tropical Atlantic Ocean", the National Hurricane Center reported Sunday.
"Cape Verde storms frequently become some of the largest and most intense hurricanes", CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said.
At this time, Hurricane Irma poses no immediate threat to Barbados but it will continue to be closely monitored.
Such explosive strengthening is known as "rapid intensification", defined by the NHC as having its wind speed increase at least 30 knots in 24 hours.
"Regardless, everyone in hurricane-prone areas should ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place, as we are now near the peak of the season", the hurricane center said. However, tropical-storm-force winds and very rough surf could start to show up over these islands during Tuesday.
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