Category 5 Irma's winds now at 185 mph - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Category 5 Irma's winds now at 185 mph

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At 2 p.m. Tuesday, Category 5 Hurricane Irma's winds increased to 185 mph.

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Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties are all in the 5-day cone.

Irma is moving toward the west near 14 mph (22 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue Tuesday, followed by a turn toward the west-northwest tonight.

On the forecast track, the extremely dangerous core of Irma is forecast to move over portions of the northern Leeward Islands Tuesday and early Wednesday.

Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles (260 km).

The latest minimum central pressure reported by reconnaissance aircraft is 926 mb (27.34 inches).

The National Hurricane Center said there was a growing possibility that the storm's effects could be felt in Florida later this week and over the weekend, though it was still too early to be sure of its future track: "Everyone in hurricane-prone areas should ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place."

Irma's center was expected to move near or over the northern Leeward Islands late Tuesday and early Wednesday, the hurricane center said. The eye was then expected to pass about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Puerto Rico late Wednesday.

Authorities warned that the storm could dump up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain, cause landslides and flash floods and generate waves of up to 23 feet (7 meters). Government officials began evacuations and urged people to finalize all preparations as shelves emptied out across islands including Puerto Rico.

"The decisions that we make in the next couple of hours can make the difference between life and death," Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said. "This is an extremely dangerous storm."

Residents on the U.S. East Coast were urged to monitor the storm's progress in case it should turn northward toward Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas.

The government of the Dominican Republic has issued a Hurricane Watch from Cabo Engano to the northern border with Haiti and a Tropical Storm Watch from south of Cabo Engao to Isla Saona.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

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
* British Virgin Islands
* U.S. Virgin Islands
* Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:
*
Guadeloupe
* Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the northern border with Haiti
* Haiti from the northern border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas
* Turks and Caicos Islands
* Southeastern Bahamas

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* Guadeloupe
* Dominica

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
* Dominican Republic from south of Cabo Engao to Isla Saona
* Haiti from south of Le Mole St. Nicholas to Port-Au-Prince


A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

In this case, for some of easternmost islands, the hurricane conditions are expected within the next 24 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to
completion.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area in this case within 36 hours.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Interests elsewhere in the Dominican Republic, along with Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Cuba, and the southeastern and central Bahamas should monitor the progress of Irma.

For storm information specific to your area in the United States, including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office. For storm information specific to your area outside the United States, please monitor products issued by your national meteorological service.

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