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UPDATE: Irma expected to become Hurricane on Thursday

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Tropical Storm Irma forecast path

Update 11 p.m.: Tropical Storm Irma has maximum sustained winds of 65 mph and is expected to become a hurricane on Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The storm is about 545 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands and moving west at around 12 mph.

A turn toward the west-northwest is expected by Thursday, and this general motion should continue through Friday.


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Update 5 p.m.: Tropical Storm Irma is steadily intensifying as it moves west across the warm waters of the Atlantic, and is now forecast to become a Category 2 hurricane within 72 hours.

The storm, which is no immediate threat to land, had 60 mph winds as of the 5 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, and was located 480 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands.

Forecasters believe it will gain hurricane strength late Thursday or Friday.

Irma is traveling along the south side of the Bermuda-Azores High, and should slow its 15 mph forward speed as it turns more west-northwest over the next three days.

While it’s too early to decide Irma’s exact path, it’s never too early to be prepared.

“Unlike previous systems that came this route this year, there isn’t much wind shear or dry air in the way of Irma at all,” said Jonathan Erdman, a senior digital meteorologist at “There’s a reason why there’s a peak to the season, because the optimal conditions tend to maximize right around the end of August and into September.”

This is the first time the name Irma is being used in the Atlantic. Irma replaced Irene – a name stricken from the rotating list after the 2011 hurricane season where Hurricane Irene caused devastating inland flooding in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Vermont.

The hurricane center also identified another area of concern Wednesday that could cause more grief to Gulf Coast states, including areas of southeastern Texas where Harvey has dumped 52 inches or rain, according to the Weather Prediction Center.

Hurricane forecasters gave the disturbance that could move off the coast of Mexico and into the southwestern Gulf a 20 percent chance of developing over five days. They said it would be slow to organize and that it’s too early to tell how much rain it could bring.

“Whether, or to what extent, it would affect the Harvey-impacted areas is unknown,” Erdman said. “But it’s something we have to watch for the entire Gulf of Mexico.”

If it becomes a named storm, it would be Jose.

Tropical Storm Irma on visible satellite Aug. 30, 2017

Update 2:11 p.m.: The National Hurricane Center has identified an area of concern in the Gulf of Mexico, giving it a 20 percent chance of tropical development over the next five days.

Forecasters said an area of low pressure could form over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico by the weekend. Development, if any, would be slow as it moves north.

“If this system does develop, it could bring additional rainfall to portions of the Texas and Louisiana coasts,” hurricane center experts wrote in their 2 p.m. update. “However, any rainfall forecast is uncertain at this time range and it is too soon to determine any impacts.”

Update 11 a.m.: Tropical Storm Irma formed this morning 420 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands with 50 mph winds, but is expected to strengthen and could become a hurricane this week.

In its first advisory on the nascent cyclone, hurricane center forecasters said they expect Irma to become a hurricane on Friday.

“However, Irma will be moving over more marginal water temperatures and into drier mid-level conditions, which should temper the intensification rate,” forecasters wrote in their 11 a.m. forecast.

Find everything you need to know about hurricane season on The Post’s storm page. 

The official 5-day intensity prediction shows Irma becoming a hurricane within 48 hours, and maxes the storm out with 90 mph winds at 120 hours.

With the storm being so far from land, there are no watches or warnings in effect.

Irma’s long-term path is unclear with it expected to move “somewhat unusually” toward the west-southwest.

AccuWeather forecasters said they expect to track Irma through the middle of September as it will take about a week for it to make its trek west.

“All interests in the eastern Caribbean will need to monitor the progress of this evolving tropical cyclone, especially next week,” said AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski. “It is way too soon to say with certainty where and if this system will impact the U.S.”

Related: Will a hurricane be named after you this season? 


Update 8:50 a.m.: The National Hurricane Center will begin issuing advisories on Tropical Storm Irma at 11 a.m.

Irma, the ninth named storm of the 2017 hurricane season, is located west of the Cabo Verde Islands and has been organizing steadily this week. The system was previously designated Invest 93L.

“While 93L certainly could form into a powerful and destructive storm as it barrels towards the Americas, it will take about a week for the system to make its trek westward across the Atlantic Ocean,” AccuWeather meteorologist Faith Eherts wrote in a blog this morning. “During this time, plenty of atmospheric factors will come into play to determine its path.”