HOLT, Fla., Aug. 2, 2017–Hurricane models are beginning to show Irma turning west-northwest during the next 72-to-120-hour period.
However, the National Hurricane Center points out it’s still too early to determine what impacts Irma will have on Florida and the United States.
Located more than 1,100 miles east of the Leeward Islands, the hurricane has been slow to develop further but should pick up intensity as it gets closer to warmer tropical waters, according to the NHC.
The NHC’s forecast is for gradual intensification through the next five days as the system fights cooler water and vertical wind shear.
Alternatively, if the wind shear Irma is currently experiencing is less than expected, Irma could get significantly stronger, according to the NHC.
A small category two hurricane with 110 mph sustained winds, Irma is expected to grow in the next 72 hours and is still expected to be a major hurricane as it moves closer to the Lesser Antilles early next week.
Hurricane Hunter aircraft have been investigating Irma and reconnaissance missions are scheduled for tomorrow.
Behind Irma to the east-southeast is the next tropical wave moving westward at 10-to-15 mph.
According to the NHC, environmental conditions are expected to become more favorable for development and a tropical depression is likely to form by the middle of next week.
This system has been given a 70 percent chance of further development.