At 11am Friday, the center of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 18.5 North, longitude 37.8 West. When Irma was declared a unsafe Category 3 hurricane at 5 p.m. Thursday, it was about 3,000 miles southeast of Miami.
The approach of Irma will result in a general drop-off in wind speeds across the island, leading to warmer and hence uncomfortable conditions, said the BMS. After 5 days hurricane forecast models begin to show significant discrepancy in direction, and the National Hurricane Center urges people to not focus on one particular forecast model, but the general direction of the storm. Center forecaster Robbie Berg said in a discussion "while Irma is now a small hurricane, the size guidance suggests it should grow in size during the next 72 hours". On Sunday, Hurricane warnings were issued for parts of the Leeward Islands.
Earlier this month, forecasters said the Atlantic hurricane season would be "above-normal", with 14 to 19 named storms ahead of the peak season.
"Irma is moving toward the west near 15 miles per hour and a turn toward the west-southwest at a slightly slower rate of speed during the next two days", the National Hurricane Center wrote in an advisory on Irma Saturday morning, September 2.
The watches are being posted in advent of the storm's arrival which for the majority of islands under watches now, will be on Wednesday afternoon.
Irma is moving through the eastern Atlantic and now poses no threat to land.
It is too early to determine what direct impacts Irma might have on the continental United States. Irma is moving due west at 14 miles per hour, and is expected to move more west southwesterly heading into Monday. "The storm is expected to be a major hurricane, so it would still bring high surf, erosion, and rip currents to much of the eastern seaboard, but staying offshore is obviously the best case scenario".
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