Hurricane warnings and watches in the Caribbean as Category 3 Irma creeps closer

Hurricane warnings and watches went up throughout the Caribbean as Hurricane Irma edged toward the islands Monday a 120 mph-sustained winds Category 3 storm at the National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. advisory.

As for the continental United States, the NHC still says it’s too early to say what Irma will do, if anything. However, many long range models put South Florida into several of the storm’s potential paths.

“There is an increasing chance of seeing some impact from Irma in the Florida Peninsula and Florida Keys this week and this weekend,” the NHC’s 11 a.m. Key Messages say. “In addition, rough surf and dangerous marine conditions will begin to affect the southeastern U.S. coast by later this week.”

Irma’s still moving west-northwest at 14 mph. It’s still expected to turn west later Monday, then west-northwest on Tuesday.

There’s been a minute dip in pressure, 947 mb to 944 mb, which is to be expected given the projections of Irma’s increasing might throughout Monday and Tuesday. Hurricane force winds how extend 35 miles from the center of the storm, five miles farther than Monday’s 8 a.m. advisory.

Now under hurricane warning: Antigua; Barbuda; Anguilla; Montserrat; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saba; St. Eustatius; Sint Maarten; Saint Martin; and Saint Barthelemy. Hurricane watches have been issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands; Puerto Rico; the British Virgin Islands; Guadeloupe; Vieques; and Culebra.

“Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area by Tuesday night, with tropical storm conditions expected by late Tuesday,” the NHC advisory warned. “Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area by late Wednesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by early Wednesday.”

The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Turks and Caicos, Cuba and the southeastern Bahamas aren’t under hurricane watch yet, but “Irma could directly affect Hispaniola, Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas and Cuba as a major hurricane later this week.”