Hurricane Irma remains a Category 3 hurricane as of 4 PM Sunday. The storm weakened very slightly, with a less defined eye, but still maintains winds of 115 mph. Irma is moving due west at 14 mph, and is expected to move more west southwesterly heading into Monday. Irma is expected to strengthen heading into the middle of next week to a possible Category 4 storm.
In terms of any possible effects to the United States, it is still too soon to speculate, as Irma remains more than a week away from any possible impacts. At this point, it would be much less likely to enter the Gulf, and will likely become an East Coast threat. Areas from Miami, Florida to the Carolinas need to be prepared for possible impacts late next week. After 5 days hurricane forecast models begin to show significant discrepancy in direction, and the National Hurricane Center urges people to not focus on one particular forecast model, but the general direction of the storm.
Hurricane Irma is expected to strengthen to possibly a Category 4 hurricane as it moves towards the Caribbean. Hurricane Watches have been issued by the governments of Antigua, the Netherlands and France for for the islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Martin and Saint Barthelemy. Puerto Rico, the Leeward Islands the US and British Virgin Islands are urged to be prepared.
Hurricane Irma is the ninth named system of the 2017 hurricane season. Behind Irma, a new tropical wave shows signs of developing into our next tropical system over the next three to five says.