Hurricane Irma now officially poses a threat to the United States as islands at the eastern end of the Caribbean Sea are making preparation for its arrival.
The storm could hit the area as soon as Tuesday, and is expected to hit the East Coast of the mainland US later this week.
Hurricane watches were posted Sunday for Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Monserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Martin, Guadeloupe and the British Virgin Islands.
The US National Hurricane Center said the center of the storm could near that region late Tuesday.
Currently Irma is a Category three hurricane, but its intensity has been fluctuating over the past few days.
It is expected to strengthen to a Category four when it hits the islands, according to Accuweather.
The National Hurricane Center also warned the islands farther north, including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, to monitor the progress of the storm.
Antigua's prime minister, Gaston Browne, urged people to take preventative measures in case the storm should hit.
He urged people to clean drains and and remove any objects that could be sent airborne by high winds.
Workers have started pruning trees and shrubs to reduce chances for branches to tear down power and phone lines.
Even if the center of Irma misses some of the islands there are expected power outages and damage to trees and buildings.
Rough surf is also expected, and will cause dangerous swimming and boating conditions. Accuweather warns small crafts to head to port and stay there until the storm passes.
Any larger boats, such as cruises and shipping interests, are encouraged to reroute.
'The passage of a hurricane is not a matter to be taken lightly, but we must not panic,' Browne said in a statement.
The Antigua and Barbuda weather service said Irma was expected to bring heavy rains, rough surf and high winds to islands along the northern edge of the Antilles.
According to the US hurricane center, Irma had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph) on Sunday.
It was centered about 790 miles (1,275 kilometers) east of the Leeward Islands and moved westward at 14 mph (22 kph).
Puerto Rico's governor, Ricard Rossello, said government agencies in the US territory were prepared to deal with any emergencies caused by the storm.
'We have established protocols for the safety of all,' he said at a news conference, while he also urged islanders to take precautions.
In the Dominican Republic, Public Works Minister Gonzalo Castillo said workers there were clear away road works and also clean out blockages of sewer drains.
He said President Danilo Medina would lead a meeting with emergencies agencies on Monday to discuss storm preparations.
Landfall in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and the end of the Delmarva peninsula is expected later this week, though there is a possibility the storm will miss the mainland entirely.
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SOURCE : halturnerradioshow.com