…POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE IRMA NEARING THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS…
SUMMARY OF 800 PM AST…0000 UTC…INFORMATION
ABOUT 85 MI…140 KM E OF ANTIGUA
ABOUT 90 MI…145 KM ESE OF BARBUDA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…185 MPH…295 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…W OR 280 DEGREES AT 15 MPH…24 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…916 MB…27.05 INCHES
At 800 PM AST (0000 UTC), the distinct eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 17.2 North, longitude 60.5 West. Irma is moving toward the west near 15 mph (24 km/h). A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast to begin tonight and continue for the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the extremely dangerous core of Irma will move over portions of the northern Leeward Islands tonight and early Wednesday, move near or over portions of the northern Virgin Islands Wednesday, and pass near or just north of Puerto Rico late Wednesday and Wednesday night.
Maximum sustained winds are near 185 mph (295 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is an extremely dangerous 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 175 miles (280 km).
The minimum central pressure estimated from Hurricane Hunter observations is 916 mb (27.05 inches).