Hurricane Irma was downgraded to a Category 4 storm by the National Hurricane Center Friday morning, but it’s still on track to cause devastation in Florida.
Hurricane conditions have already pummeled the Dominican Republic, parts of Haiti, Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and others. Irma currently is moving over the northern coast of Cuba, an 8 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center said.
From there, Irma still seems likely to hit South Florida by early Sunday, according to the 8 p.m. projections. The projected storm impact on southern Florida has shifted slightly west. The track is still predicted to go through the center of Florida, possibly affecting both the east and west coast of the state.
The storm’s possible path varies after that, but the National Hurricane Center’s latest prediction has it traveling through the center of Georgia Monday and Tuesday and up through Tennessee by Wednesday, skirting South Carolina and Alabama.
A storm surge warning – meaning life-threatening rising water is expected in the area within 36 hours – is in effect for the Jupiter Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach and the Florida Keys.
A storm surge watch – meaning life-threatening rising water is possible within the area within 48 hours – is in effect for areas north of Jupiter Inlet to the Sebastian Inlet and north of Bonita Beach to Venice.
Hurricane warnings are in effect for:
- Sebastian Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Anna Maria Island
- Florida Keys
- Lake Okeechobee
- Florida Bay
- Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, and Villa Clara
- Central Bahamas and Ragged Island
- Northwestern Bahamas
Hurricane watches are in effect for:
- North of Sebastian Inlet to the Flagler/Volusia County Line
- North of Anna Maria Island to the Suwannee River
- Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas and Matanzas
A tropical storm warning is in effect for
- Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, and Las Tunas
Storm surge warnings are in effect for:
- Sebastian Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Venice
- Florida Keys
Storm surge watches is in effect for:
- North of Sebastian Inlet to the Flagler/Volusia County line
- North of Venice to Anclote River
- Tampa Bay
Maximum sustained winds are around 150 miles per hour and Irma is likely to remain a Category 4 hurricane for “the next couple of days,” according to the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane winds extend up to 70 miles from the center and tropical storm winds extend up to 185 miles.