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Hurricane Irma strengthens to a Category 4 storm

Hurricane Irma is a category 4 storm. (National Hurricane Center)

Update:

Hurricane Irma’s winds have been clocked at 140 MPH, located at 16.7N 55.0W.

Original story:


Hurricane Irma strengthened to a Category 4 storm Monday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center said.

Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Delray Beach are in the northwest cone for Irma, according to CBS 12 meteorologist Jeff Berrardelli.

Gov. Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency for the state of Florida as Irma approaches.


The storm is heading toward the Leeward Islands, where hurricane warnings have already been issued.

Hurricane watches are in effect for the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra, according the the National Hurricane Center .

Irma currently has maximum sustained winds of almost 130 mph.

Florida is spending Labor Day weekend with one eye on Irma.

Long-range track models shifted toward Florida early Monday morning, some forecasting a path up the center of the state.

Forecasters warn that models are not forecasts, but an important warning to prepare for some storm effects later this week.

The hurricane continues to churn West-South West with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph. No change to the storm's strength.

(Related Link: Understanding the categories of a hurricane)

Read the Hurricane Guide.

CBS 12 meteorologist Michael Ehrenberg held a Q&A session live on Facebook, explaining the latest forecast models on Irma and answering questions:




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