Tropical Storm Irma forms in the Atlantic

NEW ORLEANS – Tropical storm Irma formed Wednesday morning, well of into the Atlantic off the coast of Africa to become the 9th names storm of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Maximum sustained winds are 50 mph and Irma is moving to the west at 13 mph. A ridge over the Atlantic will keep Irma steadily moving to the west. While environmental conditions are favorable for strengthening, Irma will be moving over more moderate ocean temperatures which will limit rapid intensification.

However, the forecast from the National Hurricane Center does call for a gradual strengthening over the next five days. By the end of the forecast, the ridge steering Irma will strengthen and move southwest. This will cause Irma to turn to the south-southwest, an unusual track for a tropical system in the Atlantic. This track will steer Irma into the Windward Islands by the middle of next.

We will continue to monitor the track for Irma closely as it appears the storm will enter the Caribbean by the end of next week.