BREAKING — Hurricane Irma is a growing threat to the continental United States, with impacts possibly beginning in Florida later this week. Before that, Irma will bring dangerous conditions to the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Bahamas and Cuba.

Puerto Rico’s governor declared a state of emergency on Monday ahead of powerful Hurricane Irma which has strengthened into a Category 4 storm.

The National Guard was also activated as the U.S. territory prepares for the storm to hit on Wednesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.


“Despite the economic challenges Puerto Rico is facing, the approved budget has $15 million for the emergency fund,” Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said in a statement.

Government workers on the islands of the eastern Caribbean are clearing drains and pruning trees as authorities urge residents to prepare for Hurricane Irma, a Category 4 storm likely to begin hitting that area Tuesday.

Below is everything we know about Irma right now, including its latest status along with potential forecast impacts in the U.S. and the Caribbean Islands.

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Irma’s Latest Status, Timing

The center of Irma is located less than 500 miles east of the Leeward Islands and is moving westward at about 13 mph.

Irma has strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane, and satellite imagery shows that it has become better organized in the past day with an eye now clearly evident.

Low wind shear, increased mid-level moisture and ample oceanic heat content favor that Irma will remain a major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger) for the next several days, though some intensity fluctuations are likely.

One potential inhibitor of Irma maintaining its intensity would be if the hurricane’s core interacts with land as it cruises westward near the Greater Antilles later this week.

Hurricane warnings have been issued for portions of the Leeward Islands. This includes Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, the Virgin Islands and Guadeloupe.

In addition, a tropical storm warning has been issued for Guadeloupe, and a tropical storm watch is in effect for Dominica.

For now, all residents along the Southeast Coast and eastern Gulf Coast, including Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, should monitor the progress of Irma closely.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its advisory late Monday morning that the chances of Irma affecting parts of Florida later this week or next weekend are increasing. In addition, rough surf and dangerous boating conditions will exist throughout the southeastern U.S. coastline by late week.

Destructive winds, storm surge inundation, pounding surf and heavy rainfall could all be potential threats from Irma in the Southeast U.S. Determining where those impacts will occur and how serious they may be is too early to determine.

No matter what the future holds for Irma’s path and intensity, the NHC advises, “Everyone in hurricane-prone areas should ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place, as we are now near the peak of the season.”

Stay safe out there patriots. We will have you in our prayers.

God Bless.

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