Hurricane Irma is still a very strong, very powerful Category 5. She has ripped through much of the Caribbean, leaving catastrophic destruction in her wake. Right now, Irma is over the U.S. Virgin Islands, just northeast of Puerto Rico. She is 20 miles NNW os St. Thomas. She is moving WNW at 16 mph, which is a bit faster than her speed of 14 mph recorded on Tuesday.
The photo below shows Irma’s location as of 3:20 p.m. Eastern.
As of about 15 minutes ago, Irma broke a record, maintaining 185 mph winds for 24 hours straight. No other hurricane in the Atlantic — or the Pacific — has ever done so. She has a sustained wind speed of 185 mph.
Over the past 24 hours, Irma’s projected track has become a bit more clear. The latest GFS and Euro models are fairly similar, both predicting that Irma will move more east once she reaches the Florida Keys. At this time, she is expected to hit the Bahamas, Key West, and Miami, before heading up the east coast. It is still unknown if she will make landfall in Florida. If she does not, the impact of the storm will still affect the majority of the state, given her impressive size.
Areas including Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina, are preparing to see this hurricane in some form early next week. As you can see, Irma will likely be a Category 3 by the time she reaches the Jacksonville area. North Carolina and Virginia are also keeping a close eye on Irma as she moves closer to the U.S.
The map below shows Irma’s projected path in the days ahead.
Irma is expected to weaken to a Category 4 as she approaches Florida. However, a Category 4 hurricane is still extremely serious and cause catastrophic damage. At least 8″ to 12″ of rain is expected in Miami by Tuesday.