Irma grows stronger, now a Category 3 hurricane

Monday, 04 Sep, 2017

As of 4 p.m., the hurricane was 1,028 miles east of the Leeward Islands.

Forecast models show it approaching the Bahamas before turning north or northwest, and how hard it turns will determine what part of the USA could be at risk, Ward said.

Should Irma strike the US, it could form a devastating 1-2 punch of Category 4 storms after the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Harvey last weekend.

The hurricane center is also tracking a tropical wave to the south and east of Irma that could become Tropical Storm Jose next week.

Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Katie Walls says Irma is a major storm that will intensify over the next 5 days.

As we are in the peak of hurricane season, it's no surprise that another system is being watched by the hurricane center. Hurricane Watches have been issued by the governments of Antigua, the Netherlands and France for for the islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Martin and Saint Barthelemy.

The hurricane, with winds of 115 miles per hour as of Sunday, is expected to pass just to the north of those islands sometime on Wednesday as a major hurricane. A turn toward the west-southwest is expected on Saturday. One of those storms, however, was Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

"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.

Irma became the ninth named Atlantic storm of the season on Wednesday, following Hurricane Harvey.

There is a realistic possibility that Irma could impact the United States, including Florida, in about ten days from now.