Irma now Category 2 Hurricane; rapidly intensifying over Atlantic

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Tropical Storm Irma is now a hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm’s maximum sustained winds have increased to near 100 mph, making it a Category 2 storm.

At 11 a.m. on Thursday, August 31, the center of Hurricane Irma was located 650 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands.

RELATED: News 2 Hurricane Central

Irma is moving toward the west-northwest near 10 mph. Forecasters believe this general motion will continue through early Friday. The storm is expected to travel more westerly on Saturday.

Irma is forecast to become a major hurricane by tonight.  It’s expected to be a category 4 hurricane east of the Leeward Islands next week.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles, according to the current advisory.

Hurricane Wind Scale

Category Sustained Winds Damage
1 74-95 mph Very dangerous winds will produce some damage
2 96-110 mph Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage
3 (Major) 111-129 mph Devastating damage will occur
4 (Major) 130-156 mph Catastrophic damage will occur
5 (Major) 157 mph or higher Catastrophic damage will occur

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s sustained wind speed. The scale estimates potential property damage. Hurricanes reaching Category 3 and higher are considered major because of their potential for significant loss of life and damage.

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