Hurricane Watches issued for Leeward Islands
Hurricane Watches have been issued for a number of Caribbean countries in light of Hurricane Irma.
At 5 p.m. the centre of the system was located near latitude 17.6 North, longitude 49.8 West. Irma is moving toward the west near 14 mph (22 km/h).
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said a westward to west-southwestward motion with some reduction in forward speed is expected through Monday night. On the forecast track, the center of Irma is forecast to approach the northern Leeward Islands late Tuesday.
On the forecast track, the center of Irma is forecast to approach the northern Leeward Islands late Tuesday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph (185 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km).
The estimated minimum central pressure is 969 mb (28.62 inches).
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St Kitts, and Nevis, Saba, St Eustatius, and St Maarten, St Martin and St Barthelemy.
Interests in the remainder of the Leeward Islands, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico should monitor the progress of Irma.
Additional Hurricane and Tropical Storm Watches may be required for portions of this area on Monday. (NB)