Tropical Storm Irma , located over the Atlantic Ocean, about 650 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands, "rapidly" intensified Thursday, strengthening into a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph sustained winds and is forecast to be an "extremely dangerous" storm for the next several days, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Irma is still more than 3,000 miles from South Florida. It was predicted to become a category 4 east of the Leeward Islands next week. The National Hurricane Center said Irma is expected to be "an extremely dangerous hurricane for the next several days," and is forecast to become a category 4 storm east of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean by next week.
Certainly, it will be an exceptionally strong hurricane across the Lesser Antilles/Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba and the U.S both Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast. Any impacts to the U.S., if any, would be a full 10 to 11 days away. The storm does not however pose an immediate threat to land and there are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, the hurricane center said. An average Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, produces 12 named storms, of which six possibly become hurricanes. Irma is the ninth named storm of the year.