Irma: Hurricane Watch for St Maarten and Saint Martin

The government of Antigua has issued a Hurricane Watch for the islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, and Nevis. The government of the Netherlands has issued a Hurricane Watch for the islands of Saba, St. Eustatius, and Sint Maarten. The government of France has issued a Hurricane Watch for St. Martin and Saint Barthelemy.

At 500 PM AST (2100 UTC), the center of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 17.6 North, longitude 49.8 West. Irma is moving toward the west near 14 mph (22 km/h).  A westward to west-southwestward motion with some reduction in forward speed is expected through Monday night.  On the forecast track, the center of Irma is forecast to approach the northern Leeward Islands late Tuesday.  Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph (185 km/h) with higher gusts.  Irma is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.  Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km).  The estimated minimum central pressure is 969 mb (28.62 inches).