Islands in the path of Hurricane Irma are being encouraged to rush preparations ahead of the storm, which is expected to impact the island within 36 hours.
Irma is now a Category 4 storm.
At 500 PM AST (2100 UTC), the center of Hurricane Irma was locatedÂ near latitude 16.7 North, longitude 54.4 West. Irma is movingÂ toward the west near 13 mph (20 km/h) and this general motion isÂ expected to continue into Tuesday, followed by a turn toward theÂ west-northwestward late Tuesday. On the forecast track, the centerÂ of Irma will move near or over portions of the northern LeewardÂ Islands Tuesday night and early Wednesday.
Data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicateÂ that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 130 mphÂ (215 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 4 hurricane on theÂ Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Additional strengthening isÂ forecast during the next 48 hours.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 40 miles (65 km) from theÂ center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 milesÂ (220 km).
The latest minimum central pressure reported by reconnaissanceÂ aircraft is 944 mb (27.88 inches).
The government of France has issued a Tropical Storm Warning forÂ Guadeloupe.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, and Nevis
* Saba, St. Eustatius, and Sint Maarten
* Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* British Virgin Islands
* U.S. Virgin Islands
* Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expectedÂ somewhere within the warning area. A warning is typically issuedÂ 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult orÂ dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should beÂ rushed to completion.
A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possibleÂ within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours beforeÂ the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds,Â conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions areÂ expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.
A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions areÂ possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
Interests in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Turks and CaicosÂ Islands, and the southeastern Bahamas should monitor the progress ofÂ Irma.
Read the full reportÂ http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT1+shtml/042036.shtml