Sept. 3 (UPI) — Hurricane Irma is maintaining its Category 3 status as it continues its westward trek across the Atlantic Ocean but its impact on the Eastern United States remains uncertain as of Monday morning.
The National Hurricane Center said the storm was about 610 miles east of the Leeward Islands as of the 5 a.m. EDT advisory update. Irma had top winds of 120 miles per hour and was moving west-southwest at 14 miles an hour.
A hurricane watch is in effect for the following countries: Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy.
The “cone,” or predicted path, puts the eye of the storm near Cuba on 2 a.m. Saturday. The United States is not in the five-day path.
The hurricane center said Irma is expected to affect the northeastern Leeward Islands as a major hurricane, “accompanied by dangerous wind, storm surge, and rainfall impacts, along with rough
surf and rip currents.”
“Irma will begin rounding the southwestern edge of the high soon, which will allow the hurricane to turn westward later today and then west-northwestward in 36-48 hours,” Center forecaster Robbie Berg said in a discussion. “Down the road, a large mid-latitude trough is expected to dig southward over the eastern United States during the next 72 hours, but the global models have been trending toward quickly lifting the trough out over New England and eastern Canada on days 4 and 5, with the subtropical ridge building westward toward Florida.”
Irma became the ninth named Atlantic storm of the season Wednesday, following Hurricane Harvey.