Hurricane Irma strengthened Thursday to a Category 3 storm with 115 mph sustained winds and is predicted to be an “extremely dangerous” storm for the next several days, according to the National Hurricane Center.
“Fluctuations in strength, both up and down, are possible, but Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane for several days,” the advisory read.
Earlier in the day, the weather service said Irma is expected to be “an extremely dangerous hurricane for the next several days,” and is predicted to be a category 4 storm east of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean by next week.
Fox News Senior Meterologist Janice Dean said Thursday it is still too early to tell whether Irma will pass well north of the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico, or have consequences there by next Wednesday or Thursday.
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“What we do know is that it will be an exceptionally strong hurricane, and all interest across the Lesser Antilles/Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba and the U.S — both Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast — need to monitor Irma’s path,” Dean said.
Any impacts to the U.S., if any, are a complete 10 to 11 days away, according to Dean. Forecaster should get a better idea where the storm is moving, once Irma moves father across the Atlantic.
There are no watches or warnings in effect and the storm doesn’t pose an immediate threat to property, the hurricane center said.
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Irma is the ninth named storm of this year, and comes after Harvey devastated Texas with record amounts of rain.
Earlier this month, forecasters said the Atlantic hurricane season would be “above-normal,” with 14 to 19 named storms before the peak season.
An average Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, generates 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three big hurricanes, according to the NOAA.
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