Hurricane Irma continues to be a powerful and potentially life-threatening storm, and uncertainty with her interaction to the U.S. coast still looms, according to a 5 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center.
The super storm passed over Barbuda overnight and is barreling toward the northern Leeward Islands, including the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday at 16 miles per hour with 185 mile per hour winds, according to the update.
A hurricane warning is issued for the Dominican Republic northern coast, southeastern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, and hurricane watches are in effect for parts of Haiti and the central Bahamas as Irma churns closer bringing dangerous winds and other life-threatening issues, and could interact with these areas Wednesday night through Friday.
The rest of the Bahamas and Cuba could be impacted later this week, weather authorities said.
The risk of direct impacts for Florida and the Florida Keys later this week is climbing, but forecasters said it remains too soon to tell the level of impacts and timing of the storm.
The newest information shows Irma being steered north by a subtropical ridge, and moving north-northwest, but much uncertainty remains, especially for the Carolinas.
The main scenarios still likely are as follows, according to WPDE:
Irma turns north and travels over land, weakening considerably before bringing an unknown amount of rain and winds to South Carolina, which is a scenario that’s “been trending up a bit,” according to Chief Metorlogist Ed Piotrowski’s weather blog.
The worst case scenario is still a possibility, which is that Irma turns northward near the Florida coast, travels up the coast maintaining her powerful storm status.
The best case scenario is also still at play, which has Irma taking an early turn north, keeping her far enough away from our coast and causing very little impact.
Forecasters recommend everyone in hurricane prone areas continue to closely monitor the storm and have a hurricane plan ready.