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Hurricane Irma will continue to blast across the northern Caribbean into the weekend, spreading life-threatening winds, flooding and storm surge.
Cuba, the Bahamas and Key West will face Irma’s wrath over the next couple of days as Irma tracks through the region and heads toward Florida and the southeastern United States coast.
Irma remains a powerful major hurricane. While Irma’s intensity may fluctuate over the next 24 to 48 hours, Irma is expected to remain at least a dangerous category 4 hurricane and bring life-threatening conditions.
Residents in the Bahamas and southern Florida should be nearing completion on preparations for Irma.
“Impacts within the projected path of Irma include life-threatening wind, storm surge and flooding rainfall hazards,” AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said.
Cuba and the eastern Bahamas will face the brunt of Irma from late Friday into Saturday. The eye of Irma will be closest to Cuba on Saturday morning.
As Irma continues to travel to the northwest through Saturday night, the central and western Bahamas, Key West and southern Florida will face the fury of powerful Irma.
By Saturday night, Irma will turn to the north and will spread severe impacts into Florida and the central and northern Bahamas. The worst impacts will be felt on the westernmost islands.
“Any landmass within 185 miles of the storm's eye could see damage and any place within 50-60 miles of the hurricane's center could experience catastrophic damage,” Kottlowski said.
Widespread power outages and significant damage to trees and structures are expected in these areas. The power may be out for weeks in some areas.
Rough surf will spread outward from the storm and the strong winds from Irma will send a large and devastating storm surge across Cuba and the Bahamas.
In addition to damaging winds, Irma will also produce heavy rain over the next couple of days. In mountainous areas, especially Cuba, flash flooding will be a much higher risk due to the water being funneled into valleys. There will also be a high risk for mudslides and road washouts.
Weather conditions will improve on Friday for Hispaniola, and on Saturday for the Turks and Caicos and southern Bahamas as Irma pulls away. Dangerous weather conditions will begin to lessen on Sunday in Cuba, and on Monday for the northern and central Bahamas.
Behind Irma, Hurricane Jose will track towards the Leeward Islands and may bring another round of rain and wind to the same islands that were blasted by Irma.
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