Irma's winds weaken slightly, now a category 2 hurricane

Monday, 04 Sep, 2017

As of the 11 am advisory from the National Hurricane Center Thursday, Irma was moving west-northwest at 15 miles per hour and expected to become a Category 4 storm by Tuesday, with winds up to 130 miles per hour. It will be approaching the Lesser Antilles by Tuesday. Thursday afternoon, it was upgraded to a Category 3 storm with winds of 115 miles per hour.

Nonetheless, the center adds it's good to be prepared, and review hurricane action plans now and to start making necessary precautions.

How "dangerous" Irma becomes could depend on where it heads.

The National Hurricane Center has labeled it as a Category 3 hurricane, which the center indicates is now swirling around the Atlantic Ocean, heading west and southwestward towards the Leeward Islands, where the rain and gusty winds could start as early as Tuesday.

At present, Irma is not too close to the land.

"At this time residents should be concerned but not anxious as the system is still far away".

Forecasters still think that an area of high pressure will build in to the north of Irma and push the storm to the west-southwest for a few days. After that, Irma's eventual path may come into sharper focus.

There is a realistic possibility that Irma could impact the United States, including Florida, in about ten days from now. On Sunday, Hurricane warnings were issued for parts of the Leeward Islands.

The chance of a tropical cyclone forming within the next five days is estimated to be medium (60 percent).

The storm continues to have maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, and is moving at 14 miles per hour.

Irma is the ninth named storm of the 2017 season, and the fourth to form during the month of August.