Tropical Storm Irma Upgraded to Category 2 Hurricane

Hurricane Irma location and projection at 5 pm on Thursday August 31. National Hurricane Center

"Irma is likely to become a major hurricane and could become a category four well before it reaches the Lesser Antilles", noted AccuWeather hurricane tracker Dan Kottlowski.

As of 11 a.m. ET, Irma was located about 1,845 miles east of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean.

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The storm is moving to the west fairly slowly right now but is expected to make a westward turn on Saturday and a west-southward motion by Sunday.

Irma has made a slight turn to the north and was moving to the WNW at 12 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center upgraded Irma's status to a hurricane late in the morning of Thursday, August 31. Maximum sustained winds were 50 miles per hour (85 kmp) with higher gusts.

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The storm is forecast to move through the tropical Atlantic this week into next.

That model, showing the many potential paths of Irma, was created by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, and at least a few of the predicted paths within it show Hurricane Irma bearing down on the Lowcountry.

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Tropical Storm Irma strengthened into a category 2 hurricane on August 31 in the Atlantic. It is still way too early to speculate on where it may go eventually as the steering patterns that will set up when the storm approaches the USA can not be forecast with any great skill this far in advance. Irma replaced the name Irene after it was retired for the damage it caused in the Bahamas and the US during the 2011 hurricane season.

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