More Watches and Warnings as Hurricane Irma Heads Towards Leeward Islands
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday September 4, 2017 – More than a dozen territories in the Leeward Islands are now under watches and warnings as Hurricane Irma, now a little stronger with 120 mile-per-hour maximum sustained winds, takes a path that will take it near or over parts of the Leeward Islands tomorrow night and early Wednesday.
Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy – that were previously under hurricane watch – are now under hurricane warning.
A hurricane watch is now in effect for Guadeloupe, the US and British Virgin Islands, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
Dominica, meanwhile, is now under a tropical storm watch.
Forecasters also say interests in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the southeastern Bahamas should also monitor Irma’s progress.
At 11 a.m., the Category 3 strength Hurricane Irma was located 560 miles east of the Leeward Islands and moving towards the west southwest at 14 miles per hour.
The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami say a turn toward the west is expected later today, followed by a west-northwestward turn late tomorrow, and “the center of Irma will move near or over portions of the northern Leeward Islands Tuesday night and early Wednesday.”
By that time it is expected to have gained further strength.
“Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area by Tuesday night, with tropical storm conditions expected by late Tuesday. Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area by late Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by early Wednesday,” the NHC said.
Irma is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 3 to 6 inches across the Leeward Islands, with isolated maximum amounts of 10 inches across the northern Leeward Islands.
“These rainfall amounts may cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Swells generated by Irma will affect the northern Leeward Islands during the next several days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” the NHC added.
“The combination of a dangerous storm surge and large breaking waves will raise water levels by as much as 6 to 9 feet above normal tide levels along the coasts of the extreme northern Leeward Islands within the hurricane warning area near and to the north of the center of Irma. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.”
Meantime, a tropical wave a tropical wave located several hundred miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands continues to produce disorganized showers and thunderstorms.
The NHC said environmental conditions are conducive for gradual development, and a tropical depression will likely form later this week while the system moves west-northwestward at 10 to 15 mph over the tropical Atlantic Ocean.
There’s a 30 per cent chance of formation through the next 48 hours and a 70 per cent chance of formation through the next five days.