Hurricane Irma barrels its way toward Florida, due Friday

5:25pm EDT UPDATE: Irma is now a category 4, and the National Hurricane Center said there is an “increasing chance” that Florida and the Florida Keys will see “some impacts from” Irma later this week and weekend, though it’s still too early to determine what direct effects it may have.

Meteorologists are predicting a Category 4 hurricane to reach South Florida by Friday morning.

With maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, Hurricane Irma is being called a “dangerous major hurricane” and it is believed the outer bands of the storm will make landfall in Miami and Key West by 8 a.m. Friday morning.

The National Hurricane Center shows the storm is slow-moving and potentially very destructive.

For now, the hurricane is expected to arrive late Tuesday or early Wednesday on the Leeward Islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, and St. Kitts, though it is still approximately 560 miles east of the islands. The region has been placed under a “hurricane warning,” as updated at 11:00 a.m.

As the storm moves westward over the next 48 hours, it is expected to gain strength. Puerto Rico already has a hurricane watch in effect, with the potential of more watches being issued today, as the trajectory of the Category 4 storm is revealed. Puerto Rico could get prolonged high winds and up to 8 inches of rain by Wednesday.
It is still too soon to estimate the impact the storm will have on Florida, according to Dennis Feltgen of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. “People should use this time wisely to check their supplies and review their hurricane plan,” he said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott urged state residents to prepare themselves by saying, “Encourage your loved ones to have a plan ahead of any potential storm. Disaster preparedness should be a priority for every Florida family.”

Irma is classified as a “Cape Verde hurricane,” which historically have become some of the largest and most intense storms on record.

Hurricane Irma is currently being monitored closely, but it is important to note that there have been no hurricane warnings or watches issued in the continental U.S. since Harvey, to date.

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