With powerful, strengthening Category 3 Hurricane Irma now a week or less away from possibly impacting the East Coast, officials of the American Red Cross are expressing concern.
The Red Cross has put a hold on sending volunteers from Mid-Atlantic states to the parts of Texas devastated by Hurricane Harvey in anticipation of Irma's possible arrival, according to WNCN-TV.
Irma is now centered less than 500 miles east of the Leeward Islands in the West Indies. The National Hurricane Center said Monday morning it had maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour, with some strengthening expected through Tuesday night.
Irma could be a Category 4 hurricane when it closes in on the East Coast late this week.
“Irma is a serious threat for the Caribbean islands and United States,” said AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.
Irma is projected to curve to the northwest beginning late Monday and move to the north of the islands in the eastern Caribbean on a path that could take it to Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and the U.S. East Coast late this week or early next week.
Hurricane watches are now in effect for the Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Monserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Martin and Guadeloupe.
The exact path of Irma beyond the end of the week remains uncertain and will depend on a variety of moving parts in the atmosphere, AccuWeather.com said, noting landfall in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas is all in the realm of possibilities.
It's still also possible Irma could hook northward and miss the East Coast or take a southern track closer to Cuba.
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