By Stephen Hudak
Tribune News Service
Hurricane Irma moved through the Caribbean today and could reach Florida by Friday, forecasters said Monday.
Meteorologists expect the Category 3 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, to remain a “dangerous major hurricane” through the week and to arrive in South Florida by Friday morning.
Modeling by the National Hurricane Center shows the outer bands of the slow-moving, potentially dangerous storm lashing Key West and Miami by 8 a.m. Friday.
Irma was continuing to move slowly toward the Leeward Islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat and St. Kitts, which are bracing for the storm’s arrival late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
The storm is expected to strengthen over the next 48 hours as it churns west toward Puerto Rico, where a hurricane watch is in effect.
Dennis Feltgen of the National Hurricane Center in Miami said it was still too early to determine the storm’s impact on Florida.
“But people should use this time wisely to check their supplies and review their hurricane plan,” he said.
The National Meteorological Service said Puerto Rico could get prolonged high winds and up to 8 inches of rain if the storm hits the island Wednesday, as expected.
No hurricane warnings or watches have been issued in the continental U.S.