Irma Turns Westward with 120-MPH Winds

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Irma has continued to intensify its hurricane strength packing sustained winds of 120 miles per hour. According to the National Hurricane Center, at 5:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, the center of Hurricane Irma was located near Latitude 18.8 degrees North, Longitude 39.1 degrees West. Irma is moving toward the west near 13 mph.

A turn toward the west-southwest is expected tomorrow. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 120 miles per hour with higher gusts. Irma is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. “Fluctuations in strength, up or down, are possible during the next few days, but Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through the weekend.” Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles.

There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

The National Weather Service at San Juan advised that much of the guidance indicates Irma will turn slightly southwest in a couple of days in response to some building of high pressure to the north and northwest.

Marine conditions will deteriorate by early next week. Seas of 10 feet or greater and winds of 25 to 30 knots or greater are possible by midweek, according to the National Weather Service.

VITEMA Director, Mona Barnes is encouraging the community to closely monitor weather reports on Hurricane Irma and to be ready in the event the US Virgin Islands is placed under a hurricane watch or warning.

“Now is the time to make sure you are prepared and ready as we continue to monitor Hurricane Irma,” Barnes said. “Don’t wait for a hurricane watch or warning to prepare. Stock up on emergency supplies now, make sure everyone in your home knows what to do in an emergency and stay informed about the weather using credible sources of information. As a territory, we are doing our very best to prepare to protect the people of the Virgin Islands,” Barnes stated.

For more information on how to prepare, visit www.Ready.gov (“http://www.ready.gov/“)  and register instant alerts from the National Weather Service and VITEMA at www.VIAlert.gov (“http://www.vialert.gov/“).