As anticipated Hurricane Irma has strengthened to a severe category 5 storm. At 200 PM AST (1800 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 16.9 North, longitude 59.1 West. Irma is moving toward the west near 14 mph (22 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue today, followed by a turn toward the west-northwest tonight. –ADVISORY HERE–
On the forecast track, the extremely dangerous core of Irma is forecast to move over portions of the northern Leeward Islands tonight and early Wednesday.
Reports from an Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 185 mph (295km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is an extremely dangerous category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.