2PM: #Irma is Dangerously Unchanged Headed Toward South Florida

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for... * Jupiter Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach * Florida Keys * Lake Okeechobee * Florida Bay * Cuba from Matanzas province eastward to Guantanamo province

At 200 PM AST (1800 UTC), the distinct eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 20.7 North, longitude 70.4 West. Irma is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days with some decrease in forward speed. On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should continue to move between Hispaniola and the Turks and Caicos this afternoon. The hurricane will then move across the southeastern Bahamas by this evening, and then be near the central Bahamas by Friday.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 175 mph (280 km/h) with higher gusts.  Irma is a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km). An unofficial observing site on Grand Turk recently reported a sustained wind of 54 mph (87 km/h) and a gust to 66 mph (106 km/h).

The minimum central pressure reported by an Air Force plane was 922 mb (27.23 inches).

INFO: Evacuation maps, shelters and more can be found HERE

Nathalie Rodriguez

Nathalie Rodriguez

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