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Hurricane Irma maintains 185 mph winds and category 5

11pm track for Hurricane Irma

Update 11pm advisory:

Irma maintains it’s 185 mph winds and extremely dangerous category 5 status. The storm is 1400 miles east southeast of South Florida and moving west at 15 mph. Irma is now closing on the Caribbean Corner near St Kitts, St Johns, Barbuda and Anguilla. Over the next few days Irma will move west northwest slowly weakening as the southern part of it’s circulation interacts with the Greater Antilles. The storm is predicted to move into the Florida Straits Saturday and at that point it will turn north. The question is exactly where? Right now the middle of the official track takes the storm NW into the Florida Keys and then possibly into SW Florida. That is also the track of the latest European model. However many of the other models show a further east track through Southeast Florida. The exact track is still uncertain and is prone to more shifts. But it is reasonable to say that significant impacts of at least Tropical Storm force are likely this weekend, especially Sunday, with the distinct chance of hurricane conditions.


Original story:

Hurricane Irma, an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane, reached wind speeds of 185 miles-per-hour, according to the 5 p.m. advisory Tuesday, during its westward march in the Atlantic toward Florida, forcing schools to close Thursday and Friday in Palm Beach County.

Superintendent Robert Avossa said the move is necessary to give students, staff and their families time to prepare for the monster storm.

The National Hurricane Center says Irma is the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic basin outside of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

And there appears to be no letup. Based on reports from an Air Force Hurricane Hunter, the National Hurricane Center says Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.

The Palm Beach County school district announced all schools and district offices will close Thursday and Friday.

All afterschool activities, including sports and school meetings, are canceled for Wednesday, the district said. All afterschool aftercare programs will remain operational through Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Superintendent Avossa said Tuesday the district's shelters will be run by volunteers from the district and county, unlike last year when they utilized volunteers from the American Red Cross. Avossa made the change after having difficult securing volunteers from the Red Cross. The school shelters can handle up to 50,000 people and more can be opened, if necessary, at the discretion of Palm Beach County Emergency Management.

St. Lucie County announced it will close schools on Thursday and Friday in advance of Hurricane Irma. Martin County and Indian River County schools will also be closed on Thursday and Friday. Okeechobee County Schools is waiting until Wednesday to make a decision.

The hurricane has much of South Florida in the cone of uncertainty. Hurricane warnings are already in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rick, St. Martin, Antigua, St. Kitts and other areas. The Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos Island and the southeastern Bahamas are under a hurricane watch. Irma is forecast to move over portions of the Leeward Islands Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

Govenor Rick Scott activated the Florida National Guard and plans to give another news conference at 6:15 p.m. to discuss emergency preparedness plans for Florida. (Mobile viewers click here to watch)

Emergency leaders in the Florida Keys have mandatory evacuation orders in place for tourists, set to begin Wednesday morning. Residents will be asked to leave starting at 7 p.m. The Key West International Airport will close after the last flight leaves Wednesday night for Atlanta.

Broward County schools are closed Thursday and Friday, according to CBS Miami.

Miami-Dade schools will be closed Thursday and Friday. Miami's mayor says people in evacuation zones A and B could begin evacuating as early as Wednesday morning. People with special needs will begin evacuating Wednesday morning, according to Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

In Palm Beach County, people are rushing from store to store to stock up on emergency supplies, from batteries, flashlights, plywood and water.

In Martin County, same story. Water is a hot item.

Water and plywood are also going fast on the Treasure Coast

CBS12 reporter Erin MacPherson says water is flying off store shelves in Vero Beach.

CBS12 reporter Michael Buczyner says leaders at the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center could release information within 24 hours.

Emergency leaders are asking people to "know their zone" in the event of an evacuation.

And as Hurricane Irma swirls at sea, Tropical Storm Jose is right behind it in the pipeline. It formed Tuesday morning with winds of 40 miles-per-hour.

Related Links:

Download the CBS12 Weather app to get instant updates.

Know Your Zone: Flood Zone Maps for Palm Beach County

Water Watch: Use social media to track water supplies at local stores

Email photos to newstips@cbs12.com or share via the CBS12 News app, just 'See it, send it'


LATEST FROM THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER

POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE IRMA NEARING THE

NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS...

...WEATHER CONDITIONS WILL DETERIORATE OVER THE NORTHERN LEEWARD

ISLANDS SOON...

SUMMARY OF 500 PM AST...2100 UTC...INFORMATION

----------------------------------------------

LOCATION...17.1N 59.8W

ABOUT 130 MI...210 KM E OF ANTIGUA

ABOUT 135 MI...220 KM ESE OF BARBUDA

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...185 MPH...295 KM/H

PRESENT MOVEMENT...W OR 280 DEGREES AT 15 MPH...24 KM/H

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...926 MB...27.35 INCHES

WATCHES AND WARNINGS

--------------------

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:

The government of the Dominican Republic has issued a Hurricane

Warning along the north coast of the Dominican Republic from the

border with Haiti eastward to Cabo Engano. A tropical storm

warning has been issued for the south coast of the Dominican

Republic from south of Cabo Engano westward to the southern border

with Haiti.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...

* Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, and Nevis

* Saba, St. Eustatius, and Sint Maarten

* Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy

* British Virgin Islands

* U.S. Virgin Islands

* Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra

* Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the northern border with

Haiti

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...

* Guadeloupe

* Haiti from the northern border with the Dominican Republic to Le

Mole St. Nicholas

* Turks and Caicos Islands

* Southeastern Bahamas

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...

* Guadeloupe

* Dominica

* Dominican Republic from south of Cabo Engano westward to the

southern border with Haiti

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...

* Haiti from south of Le Mole St. Nicholas to Port-Au-Prince

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected

somewhere within the warning area. A warning is typically issued

36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-

force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or

dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should be

rushed to completion.

A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are

expected somewhere within the warning area.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are

possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Interests elsewhere in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, as

well as Cuba, the central and northwestern Bahamas, and Florida

should monitor the progress of Irma.

For storm information specific to your area in the United States,

including possible inland watches and warnings, please monitor

products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast

office. For storm information specific to your area outside the

United States, please monitor products issued by your national

meteorological service.

DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK

------------------------------

At 500 PM AST (2100 UTC), the distinct eye of Hurricane Irma was

located near latitude 17.1 North, longitude 59.8 West. Irma is

moving toward the west near 15 mph (24 km/h). A turn toward the

west-northwest is forecast to begin tonight and continue for the

next couple of days. On the forecast track, the extremely dangerous

core of Irma will move over portions of the northern Leeward Islands

tonight and early Wednesday, move near or over portions of the

northern Virgin Islands Wednesday, and pass near or just north of

Puerto Rico late Wednesday and Wednesday night.

Maximum sustained winds are near 185 mph (295 km/h) with higher

gusts. Irma is an extremely dangerous category 5 hurricane on the

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity

are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to

remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple

of days.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the

center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles

(280 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure is 926 mb (27.35 inches).

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

----------------------

STORM SURGE: The combination of a life-threatening storm surge and

large breaking waves will raise water levels ABOVE NORMAL TIDE

LEVELS by the following amounts within the hurricane warning area

near and to the north of the center of Irma. Near the coast, the

surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

Northern Leeward Islands...7 to 11 ft

Turks and Caicos Islands...15 to 20 ft

Southeastern Bahamas...15 to 20 ft

Northern coast of the Dominican Republic...3 to 5 ft

Northern coast of Haiti and the Gulf of Gonave...1 to 3 ft

The combination of a life-threatening storm surge and the tide will

cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising

waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water is expected to

reach the following HEIGHTS ABOVE GROUND if the peak surge occurs at

the time of high tide...

British and U.S. Virgin Islands except St. Croix...7 to 11 ft

Northern coast of Puerto Rico...3 to 5 ft

Southern coast of Puerto Rico and St. Croix...1 to 2 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of

onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and

destructive waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative

timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over

short distances. For information specific to your area, please see

products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast

office.

WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane

warning area in the Leeward Islands tonight, with tropical storm

conditions beginning within the next few hours. Hurricane

conditions are expected to begin within the hurricane warning area

in the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday,

with tropical storm conditions beginning tonight. Hurricane

conditions are expected to begin within the hurricane warning area

in the Dominican Republic early Thursday, with tropical storm

conditions beginning Wednesday night.

Hurricane and tropical storm conditions are possible within the

watch area in Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the

southeastern Bahamas by early Thursday.

RAINFALL: Irma is expected to produce the following rain

accumulations through Thursday:

Northern Leeward Islands...8 to 12 inches, isolated 20 inches

Northeast Puerto Rico and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands

except St. Croix...4 to 10 inches, isolated 15 inches

Southwest Puerto Rico, the southern Leeward Islands, and

St. Croix...2 to 4 inches

Irma is expected to produce the following rain accumulations

Wednesday through Saturday:

Southeast Bahamas and Turks and Caicos...8 to 12 inches, isolated 20

inches

Northern Dominican Republic and northern Haiti...4 to 10 inches,

isolated 15 inches

Southwest Haiti...1 to 4 inches

These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

SURF: Swells generated by Irma will affect the northern Leeward

Islands, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the southeastern Bahamas,

the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the northern coast of the

Dominican Republic during the next several days. These swells are

likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Please consult products from your local weather office.

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