The projected path of Hurricane Jose at 2 p.m. on Thursday. (National Hurricane Center)
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At 2 p.m. the centre of extremely dangerous Hurricane Irma was moving between the north coast of Hispaniola and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The distinct eye of the system 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 south-eastern 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 centre 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). (PR)