At 500 AM EST (0900 UTC), the distinct eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 16.6 North, longitude 57.0 West. Irma is moving toward the west near 14 mph (22 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue today, followed by a turn toward the west-northwest tonight. On the forecast track, the core of Irma will move near or over portions of the northern Leeward Islands tonight and early Wednesday.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 150 mph (240 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. A NOAA Hurricane Hunter plane is scheduled to be in the eye of Irma within the hour.
Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 hurricane.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km).
The estimated minimum central pressure is 937 mb (27.67 inches).