Hurricane Irma turns west toward Leeward Islands

Sept. 1 (UPI) — Hurricane Irma is shaping up as a major hurricane — and will get even stronger next week as it gets nearer to land, forecasters say.

The Category 3 storm’s center is about 1,495 miles east of the Caribbean Sea’s Leeward Islands and is moving west at 13 mph, the National Hurricane Center reported in its 5 9.m. update on Friday.

Hurricane-force winds of 120 mph extend up to 25 miles outward from the center, with tropical storm-force winds extending up to 105 miles outward.

No coastal warnings were in effect Friday evening, though the NHC said residents of the Leeward Islands should monitor the storm.

Irma turned westward Friday afternoon and is expected to turn southwestward on Saturday, remaining a powerful hurricane through the weekend. Its exact path, though, is unclear.

Irma became the ninth named Atlantic storm of the season on Wednesday, following Hurricane Harvey.

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