After Harvey, ‘Monster’ Hurricane Irma Expected To Be A Category 4 And Is ‘Extremely Dangerous’

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasted that the 2017 hurricane season would be “above normal” and predicted there would be 14 to 19 named storms. We all know Hurricane Harvey and the widespread destruction that it has brought to Texas, but there is already another storm on the horizon that has potential to be extremely worrying. The ninth named storm of the year is called Irma, and despite this massive storm being far out in the Atlantic Ocean. The mighty storm has already strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane and is projected to reach Category 4 strength, with winds up to 140 mph, by next Wednesday.

On Thursday, the National Hurricane Center reported that Hurricane Irma strengthened into a Category 3 storm with 115 mph sustained winds and is moving west-northwest near 12 mph. This storm has experienced explosive strengthening known as “rapid intensification,” and its wind speed increased a remarkable 58 mph in only 24 hours. This storm is forecast to be an “extremely dangerous hurricane” and “fluctuations in strength, both up and down, are possible, but Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane for several days,” the advisory stated.

It is too early to tell where Irma is headed, but the Eastern coastal United States is definitely in the range of possibility, and Puerto Rico could be in Irma’s path by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Meteorologists are definitely taking notice of Hurricane Irma, and are decidedly concerned with the potential for disaster. Some have even said Hurricane Irma could become a devastating Category 5 storm, which is the highest rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale and means sustained winds of 157 mph or higher and features catastrophic damage will occur, meaning most of the area hit will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Even more bad news is that Irma is a “Cape Verde hurricane,” a type of hurricane that forms in the far eastern Atlantic, near the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa. Some of the largest and most dangerous record-setting hurricanes to hit the United States have been Cape Verde hurricanes including Hurricane Hugo in 1989, Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Cape Verde hurricanes are so intense because they originate in the deep tropics that feed the storm with the warm open ocean that gives it plenty of time to develop before encountering any land.