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Hurricane Irma Still A Threat, Watches Issued

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Posted at 11:10 PM, Sep 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-04 17:30:14-04

The National Hurricane has upgraded Hurricane Irma to a Category 4 with winds of 130 mph. It continues to move WSW toward the northern Leeward Islands. 

There is an increasing chance of seeing some impacts from Irma in th Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys later this week, the National Hurricane Center said.

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As of Sunday evening, Hurricane Irma is now a major hurricane again, at Category 3 status with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph and is moving west at 14 mph.

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

These watches are in effect as Irma could potentially bring dangerous winds, heavy rain, storm surge and flooding concerns to those areas as early as Tuesday night.

Further strengthening is still possible for Irma as it takes a brief dive south, then moves west northwest around a ridge of high pressure towards the Bahamas. At that point, it could be a category 4. The GFS and European models show Irma nearing the state of Florida sometime next weekend, then possibly recurving towards the north.

However, many other long range models and ensemble forecasts show different solutions and nothing is set in stone at this point. With a great deal of model disagreement, there is still plenty of uncertainty in the forecast, namely the strength and position of the Atlantic ridge and trough over North America - two players that will help steer Irma.

With this in mind, expect the forecast to change. But, it is very possible that Irma could be a threat somewhere along the east coast of the United States by next weekend. It is just too early to be very specific on where that could be.

Hurricane Hunters are in the process of flying through Irma to gather data that will be instrumental in fine tuning the forecast in the days ahead. We will keep you updated.

FOX 4 METEOROLOGIST TONY SADIKU