Hurricane Irma strengthens to Category 5 with 185 mph winds

- As Hurricane Irma churns across the western Atlantic and towards the United States, residents along the Gulf and East coasts need to be on alert. 

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, Hurricane Irma had sustained winds of 185 MPH making it a powerful Category 5 Hurricane as it approaches the northeast Caribbean on its path towards the United States. Irma is tracking west and is expected to impact Puerto Rico by Wednesday afternoon.

Irma will blast the northern Caribbean with flooding rain, damaging winds and rough surf this week, bring life-threatening conditions to the islands. 

Latest model runs show Irma continuing to move west this week and then taking a sharp northerly turn some time on Sunday. The overall trend is for Irma to pass over the west coast of Florida as it moves north through the state. 

Here in the Carolinas we could potentially see the remnants of Irma as early as Monday of next week but there is still high uncertainty as to the exact track of the storm.

If you see anything on the social media regarding an exact landfall location IT IS ALL HYPE. It is still too early to tell where Irma will land.

Related: Hurricane Irma: Monday Update

The FOX 46 Weather Team is keeping a close eye on Irma, tracking the hurricane’s progress and potential impact on the Carolinas.

Irma is coming off the heels of Harvey, which caused massive damage and severe flooding in southeast Texas. Harvey dropped historically high rainfall amounts that caused catastrophic flooding in the Houston area and other parts of the Lone Star State.

These aren’t the only hurricanes the U.S. has experienced this season, and the season is far from over. Here is a look at the season so far.

2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season So Far…

The 2017 hurricane season has already been one to talk about and we are not even half way through! So far, we have seen 8 named storms with the first one developing back in April. Most of the cyclones this season have remained in the tropical storm category, but four of the storms strengthened to hurricane status with two becoming a major hurricane.

Atlantic Hurricane Season

Tropical Storm Highlights…

It has not only been an active season; we’ve also seen some significant events. The most recent and memorable storm of 2017 was Harvey. This Cat 4 hurricane caused catastrophic damage and record breaking flooding over southeast Texas. After spinning over Texas for a few days, Harvey moved back into the Gulf near Louisiana. Harvey then made one more final turn to the north and eventually making a second landfall in SE Louisiana. This storm will definitely go down in the history books.

NOAA Hurricane Map

*First major hurricane to hit the US since Wilma in 2005
*First Category 4 storm to make landfall in Texas since Carla in 1961
*First Category 4 storm to make landfall in the US since Charley in 2004

Harvey wasn’t the only big talker this season! Here is a look at a few more highlights.


*Tropical Storm Arlene developed on April 19th in the northern Atlantic Ocean. This was the first     tropical storm to develop in April since Ann in 2003. Arlene was one of two storms ever recorded in April and was the stronger of the two.


*In mid-June a rare low-latitude tropical storm developed and struck the Island of Trinidad. Bret was the earliest storm to form in the in the Main Development Region on record. It was the lowest latitude named storm since 1933 for the month of June.

Hurricane BrettPhoto Courtesy: Weather Underground

*Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall around the Texas and Louisiana border on June 22. This was the first tropical cyclone to strike Louisiana since Hurricane Isaac in 2012.

Hurricane Track

*Franklin became the first hurricane of the season on August 9th.  After crossing over the Yucatan Peninsula as a tropical storm, Franklin quickly intensified to hurricane status in the Bay of Campeche. It only lasted about 5 hours before making landfall in Mexico and weakening rapidly.

Hurricane Track

We are approaching the peak of hurricane season on September 10, but it doesn’t officially end until November 30. The first half has been pretty active, let’s hope the second half is much quieter!

Be sure to follow FOX 46 Charlotte on Facebook and Twitter for the latest on Irma's track and intensity. Now is a good time to download the FOX 46 Weather App to receive instant alerts about the storm. You can also download the FOX 46 News App for breaking news alerts. 

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