Right now, Irma is a very powerful but very compact storm, but it is expected to grow in coming days according to the NHC.
Hurricane and tropical storm watches will likely be issued for some of these islands later today or tonight. "It is far to early to tell what, if any, impacts will be felt on the continental U.S".
As Harvey continues to weaken over the northeastern USA, another major hurricane was churning Sunday in the Atlantic.
Irma is moving due west at 14 miles per hour, and is expected to move more west southwesterly heading into Monday. This includes Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.
Forecast models generally showed Irma approaching the Bahamas before turning to the north or northwest, Ward said.
The NHC said earlier that "Irma is expected to be a major hurricane when it moves closer to the Lesser Antilles early next week".
Jeff Weber, a meteorologist at the University Corp. for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, said Friday that Irma was tracking along the bottom of a high-pressure zone known as the "Bermuda high". A turn toward the west-southwest is expected tomorrow. By Monday we would know exactly what is happening. At that point, the hurricane would be located near or to the north of Puerto Rico.
The trend in the forecast guidance that predicts the future track of hurricanes has been southward, or toward the Leeward Islands. Residents in these areas should monitor the progress of Irma and listen to advice given by officials.
Hurricane Irma is once again a Category 3 storm in the Atlantic Ocean. Despite it seeming not overly far away from the USA, there is no way of knowing where it will go until probably Tuesday at the earliest. Whether it reaches the US coast depends on the strength of the Azores High, a center of high atmospheric pressure just over the Atlantic Ocean. However, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Irma ends up somewhere in the Gulf.
Irma has the potential to produce a significant swell, but it also has the potential to skunk you and make a destructive landfall as a powerful Major Hurricane.