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Eye Of Irma Continues Just North Of Puerto Rico

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The eye of Category 5 Hurricane Irma continues passing just north of Puerto Rico.

At 11 p.m., the center of the storm was about 85 miles north-northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Irma is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the extremely dangerous core of Irma will continue to pass just north of Puerto Rico tonight, pass near or just north of the coast of Hispaniola Thursday, and be near the Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas by Thursday evening.

Maximum sustained winds are near 185 mph (295 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 50 miles (85 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km).

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra
* Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the northern border with Haiti
* Haiti from the northern border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas
* Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands
* Central Bahamas

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* Cuba from Matanzas province eastward to Guantanamo province
* Northwestern Bahamas

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Dominican Republic from south of Cabo Engano westward to the southern border with Haiti
* Haiti from south of Le Mole St. Nicholas to Port-Au-Prince
* Cuba provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, and Las Tunas

STORM SURGE: The combination of a life-threatening storm surge and large breaking waves will raise water levels ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS by the following amounts within the hurricane warning area near and to the north of the center of Irma. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

Turks and Caicos Islands…15 to 20 ft
Southeastern and central Bahamas…15 to 20 ft Northern coast of the Dominican Republic…3 to 5 ft Northern coast of Haiti and the Gulf of Gonave…1 to 3 ft Northern coast of Cuba in the warning area…5 to 10 ft

The combination of a life-threatening storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. The water is expected to reach the following HEIGHTS ABOVE GROUND if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide…

Northern coast of Puerto Rico…2 to 4 ft Southern coast of Puerto Rico…1 to 3 ft

Water levels in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands will gradually subside tonight and early Thursday.

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of onshore winds, where the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.

WIND: Tropical Storm and Hurricane conditions will continue to spread westward over portions of Puerto Rico tonight. Hurricane conditions are expected to begin within the hurricane warning area in the Dominican Republic and Haiti early Thursday, with tropical storm conditions beginning later tonight. Hurricane conditions are expected to begin in the warning area in the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands by late Thursday with tropical storm conditions by early Thursday. These conditions will spread into the Central Bahamas by Thursday night or early Friday.

Hurricane and tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area in Cuba by Friday. Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin within the warning area in Cuba Thursday night.

RAINFALL: Irma is expected to produce the following rain accumulations through Saturday:

Northern Leeward Islands…Additional 1 to 3 inches. Storm total 8 to 12 inches, isolated 20 inches.
Northeast Puerto Rico and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands…6 to 12 inches, isolated 20 inches. Southwest Puerto Rico…3 to 6 inches, isolated 10 inches. The Southern Leeward Islands, and Saint Croix…2 to 4 inches. Southeast Bahamas, Central Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos…8 to
12 inches, isolated 20 inches. Northern Dominican Republic and northern Haiti…4 to 10 inches, isolated 15 inches. Eastern and Central Cuba…4 to 10 inches, isolated 15 inches. Southwest Haiti…1 to 4 inches.

In all areas this rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

SURF: Swells generated by Irma will affect the northern Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the southeastern Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, and portions of the southeast coast of the United States during the next several days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office.

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