Hurricane Irma

Irma Now a Category 4 with an Eye on Florida

Sep 5, 2017

Irma strengthened Monday afternoon to a Category 4 storm, and the latest forecast data suggests the Major Hurricane will approach South Florida this weekend. It was too soon to make or deny that call in the past few days, but it’s now time for all Floridians in a hurricane prone area - no matter which coast you live along - to take Irma seriously.

NOAA

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Monday afternoon as Hurricane Irma strengthened into a Category 4 storm.

Irma strengthened Monday, and new forecast data suggests the major hurricane will approach South Florida this weekend. It was too soon to make or deny that call over the weekend, but confidence is increasing that the Category 3 storm will come very close, it not make a direct hit, on the Sunshine State in six to eight days.

Updated at 11:20 p.m. ET

The governors of Florida and Puerto Rico have declared pre-emptive states of emergency ahead of Hurricane Irma, a powerful Category 4 storm churning through the Caribbean on a westward track. The U.S. Virgin Islands also declared a state of emergency.

Forecasters say the dangerous storm also looks increasingly likely to hit the U.S. East Coast, either in South Florida or the Carolinas.

"We have established protocols for the safety of all," Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said, urging islanders to take precautions.

NASA/NOAA via AP

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Workers in the northeast Caribbean cleared drains and pruned trees as authorities urged islanders to prepare for Hurricane Irma, a Category 3 storm that grew stronger Monday and was forecast to begin buffeting the region the following day.

NOAA

Hurricane Irma strengthened to 120 mph sustained winds by the 8 a.m. Monday morning advisory. The Category 3 storm is expected to get more muscular throughout Tuesday and Monday, as it edges toward the Caribbean.

Hurricane watches were posted for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy, which could start to see hurricane and tropical storm conditions by late Tuesday.

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