Hurricane Irma strengthens to a major Category 3 hurricane

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NEW ORLEANS — As of Thursday afternoon, Irma has strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane.

Irma became a Tropical Storm Wednesday evening, and has been steadily getting stronger. Maximum sustained winds are now at 115 mph with higher gusts. The storm is moving west northwest at 12 mph  and remains in the Eastern Atlantic.

The general path of Hurricane Irma is to move west northwest through the day Thursday, but take more of a due west track by Saturday, followed by a slight shift to the South by Sunday.

Areas in the Caribbean including the Lesser Antilles need to closely monitor Irma through the weekend.

We will continue to monitor this storm. Check back for updates.