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Hurricane Irma Could Push To Category 5 Status Tuesday/Wednesday

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Major Hurricane Irma with 140 mph winds continued to intensify while bearing down on the Leeward Islands Monday night.

All indications suggest further strengthening with the storm Tuesday into Wednesday, possibly pushing close to or exceeding Category 5 status.

Irma was getting close to completing an eye-wall replacement cycle late Monday evening which could indicate further strengthening, while it's satellite appearance continued to improve.

Irma will be moving over increasingly warmer water while the upper level outflow from the storm continued to improve...all positive signs for further intensification.

Hurricane warnings were raised across the US and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico with the 10 pm bulletin Monday, meaning hurricane conditions will be likely there within 36 hours.

Irma's 5 day track shows a powerful major hurricane moving west-northwestward scraping the northern-most Caribbean islands over the next several days approaching an area between Cuba and South Florida (and the Keys) by Saturday evening.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott had declared a state of emergency affecting every county in Florida late Monday afternoon in preparation for Hurricane Irma.

Forecast models indicate that after the 5 day track, Irma will begin moving northward through a weakness between two high pressure ridges next weekend.

While not a done deal, it's become more certain that Florida, perhaps a good part of the peninsula, could experience hurricane conditions next weekend.

A track farther to the west, into the Gulf of Mexico, appears slimmer at this time, but changes could occur, especially if the storm has any interactions with the mountainous areas of Hispaniola and/or Cuba...including some weakening processes, but for now, the storm is forecast to remain a major hurricane as it nears Florida this weekend.


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