As it continues to bear down on the Leeward Islands, Irma is now a monstrous category 5 hurricane with 175 mile-per-hour winds. As for where it seems to be heading, by tonight and early tomorrow a large portion of the island chain’s northern section will sit beneath its core. This morning at around 8am, Irma was about 270 miles east of Antigua and 280 miles east southeast of Barbuda, and moving towards the west at 14 miles per hour.
Expectations for Irma today is described to a continued, general motion, and later tonight there will be a turn toward the west, northwest. According to forecasters, Irma could find itself moving directly over the Leeward Islands is there is any sort of delay in the shift. While its intensity might often fluctuate in the next day or two, it is highly likely that Irma will continue at a powerful category 5 or category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale during the next couple of days.
“Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area in the Leeward Islands by tonight, with tropical storm conditions beginning later today,” the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) shared earlier today.
More on the expectations of Hurricane Irma, the northern Leeward Islands, the British and US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico will experience total rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches. Several islands have already been issued hurricane and storm watched and warnings. These islands of the northern Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands include: Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Vieques and Culebra. A hurricane watch and tropical storm warning was also issued for Guadeloupe, a tropical storm warning for Dominica, and a hurricane watch for the north coast of the Dominican Republic, from Cabo Engano to the Haiti border. There is also a tropical storm watch in effect for the Dominican Republic from south of Cabo Engao to Isla Saona.
Check out the timing for potential impact of Hurricane Irma for each island in its predicted path below:
Leeward Islands: Late Today-Wednesday
Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands: Wednesday- early Thursday
Dominican Republic/Haiti: Thursday- early Friday
Turks and Caicos: Late Thursday-Friday
Bahamas: Friday-this weekend
Cuba: Friday-this weekend