And as it brings 115-mph winds, the storm was declared a Category 3 hurricane around 5 p.m. on Thursday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center. "Irma could also cause unsafe wind, storm surge and rainfall impacts on some islands, although it is too soon to specify where and when those hazards could occur".
Expect warmer and uncomfortable conditions over the weekend, as Hurricane Irma continues its journey westward across the Atlantic.
Despite Irma's intensity forecast, it's a cyclone we won't have to worry about for some time.
Although it seemed to have weakened overnight Friday, Sept. 1, the storm is still expected to reach as high as Category 4 next week.
No coastal watches or warnings have yet been issued for Irma, and it is not certain where or when it might make landfall.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles.
As we are in the peak of hurricane season, it's no surprise that another system is being watched by the hurricane center.
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.
Taking a less conservative stance on the threat posed by Irma, AccuWeather's most recent update calls the storm "a serious threat for the Caribbean Islands and the United States". The storm's center was about 650 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands off the west coast of Africa Thursday morning.
The category three hurricane is traveling at about 14 miles per hour as of late Sunday morning and is forecast to turn toward the west Monday, the center said.
As for the storm's strength, there doesn't appear to be much to inhibit Irma from bulking up.
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