Hurricane Irma has devastated nearly everywhere it has already hit or passed, including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Barbuda and other small islands.
The storm is currently pummeling the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Irma will soon bear down on the the Turks and Caicos Islands, according to the 5 p.m. projections by the National Hurricane Center. The Cuban government has also issued a Hurricane warning for the following Cuban provinces, including Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, and Villa Clara. The Cuban Keys are also listed in the warning. The storm is is on track to hit South Florida head on by early Sunday.
The storm’s track becomes more uncertain after Sunday morning, but predictions by NHC say it’s likely to continue up the east coast of Florida before hitting coastal Georgia and continuing into western South Carolina and North Carolina.
A storm surge watch – meaning there is a possibility of life-threatening factors such as rising water – is in effect for:
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- Jupiter Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to BonitaBeach
- Florida Keys
A hurricane warning is in effect for:
- Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the northern border with Haito
- Haiti from the northern border with the Dominican Republic to LeMole St. Nicholas
- Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands
- Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritusand Villa Clara.
- Central Bahamas
- Northwestern Bahamas
A hurricane watch is in effect for:
- Jupiter Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach
- Florida Keys
- Lake Okeechobee
- Florida Bay
- Cuba from Matanzas province eastward to Guantanamo province
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
- Dominican Republic from south of Cabo Engano westward to thesouthern border with Haiti
- Haiti from south of Le Mole St. Nicholas to Port-Au-Prince
- Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas.
Maximum sustained winds are around 175 miles per hour, according to NHC. Hurricane winds extend about 50 miles from the center and tropical storm winds extend up to 185 miles from the center.
Irma is a Category 5 hurricane and is likely to remain either a Category 5 or 4 for the “next couple of days,” according to NHC.
A collection of path predictions assembled by the National Center for Atmospheric Research show it’s likely those on the east coast of Florida have more reason to worry than those on the Gulf coast. Most possible paths as of Thursday morning have Irma hitting coastal Georgia after Florida, followed by western South Carolina, western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland before heading back into the Atlantic.