Hurricane Irma continued to strengthen Tuesday as an “extremely dangerous” Category 5 storm, prompting states of emergency in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida, sending residents to stores to prepare for the worst.
Irma’s maximum sustained winds had increased to near 175 mph, and the storm was located about 270 miles east of Antigua, moving west at 14 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 a.m. ET advisory.
“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,” the NHC said.
Irma’s center was expected to move near or over the northern Leeward Islands late Tuesday and early Wednesday before affecting Puerto Rico by Wednesday, the hurricane center said.
“Irma is now one of the strongest hurricanes we have witnessed in the last decade as a Cat 5 storm with winds of 175 mph,” Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean said Tuesday.
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