A hurricane warning is now in effect for Florida as Hurricane Irma continues to move through the Caribbean.
According to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center, Irma is now a category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 150 mph. The storm is set to pass near the north coast of Cuba and the central Bahamas today and Saturday, and to be near the Florida Keys and southern Florida peninsula Sunday morning. While the storm is likely to fluctuate in strength over the next day or to, it is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 hurricane as it approaches Florida.
Yesterday’s hurricane watch has been upgraded to a hurricane warning for an area from Jupiter Inlet south around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach, as well as the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee and Florida Bay. Hurricane warnings are also in effect for the southeastern, central and northwestern Bahamas; the Turks and Caicos; and the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, and Villa Clara.
Hurricane watches are in effect for an area in Florida north of Jupiter Inlet to Sebastian Inlet; north of Bonita Beach to Anna Maria Island; and the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas and Matanzas. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin and Las Tunas.
Hurricane watches and tropical storm warnings for Haiti have been discontinued.
The storm passed Puerto Rico yesterday. While a damage assessment on the island is still ongoing, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company reports that nearly all of the island’s hotels are now operational, and that flights from the destination are slated to resume as soon as the damage assessment is complete.
Over the past few days the storm has also caused heavy damage to the U.S. Virgin Islands, Barbuda, St. Martin/St. Maarten and St. Barts.