At 800 AM EDT (1200 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 21.8 North, longitude 74.7 West. Irma is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue for the next day or so with a decrease in forward speed. A turn toward the northwest is expected by late Saturday. On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should move near the north coast of Cuba and the central Bahamas today and Saturday, and be near the Florida Keys and the southern Florida Peninsula Sunday morning.
Maximum sustained winds are near 150 mph (240 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 4 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 hurricane as it approaches Florida.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km).
The latest minimum central pressure reported by a reconnaissance plane was 927 mb (27.37 inches).
A comparison of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 to Hurricane Irma in 2017. pic.twitter.com/VbZ7MqzGZf— TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 8, 2017
In addition to hurricane warnings in South Florida, the National Hurricane Center is also issuing storm surge warnings. A combination of the storm surge and the tide will cause flooding of normally dry areas. At high tide, the water could rise five to ten feet above ground from Jupiter Inlet to Bonita Beach, including the Florida Keys; three to five feet from Bonita Beach to Venice on the Gulf coast and three to six feet from Jupiter Inlet to Sebastian Inlet. Rainfall through Tuesday in southeast Florida could amount to ten to 15 inches and up to 20 inches in isolated areas. The rest of the state could get anywhere from three to 12 inches.