Hurricane Irma remains potential threat to the East Coast

Hurricane Irma remains potential threat to the East Coast

Hurricane Irma remains potential threat to the East Coast

Washington: A powerful hurricane named Irma is rapidly intensifying in the open Atlantic and is posing a major threat to the Caribbean and the U.S., weather officials said.

At 11pm... hurricane Irma was centered near latitude 18.3 north... longitude 46.2 west... or around 1030 miles east of the Leeward Islands.

Channel 9 meteorologists will continue to track Irma's path and its impact on the Charlotte area.

Forecasters on Thursday morning said the hurricane's maximum sustained winds had increased to almost 100 miles per hours, with higher gusts.

Hurricane Irma strengthens to category 3 storm.

Irma is expected to move over cooler waters on Friday which should limit its strengthening, but the hurricane will reach warmer waters again later this week. Irma is now about 1,580 miles east of the Leeward Islands.

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Hurricane Irma is moving WNW at 12mph. Once winds in Irma reach 74 miles per hour, it will be classified as a hurricane.

The NHC said environmental conditions are conducive for gradual development during the next few days, and a tropical depression could form by the end of the week while the system moves westward to west-northwestward at about 10 miles per hour over the tropical Atlantic Ocean.

Irma developed into a tropical storm Wednesday and quickly became a Category 3 storm. It's too soon to tell how much rain and forecasters gave the system just a 20 percent chance of forming.

An average Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes, according to the NOAA. It will be approaching the Lesser Antilles by Tuesday.

Irma could hit the U.S. East Coast late next week.

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Irma is still 2,500 miles from land with no advisories or warnings issued by the National Weather Service.

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