Irma Strengthens Into Category 5 Hurricane

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP);
Hurricane Irma grew into a dangerous Category 5 storm, the most powerful seen in the Atlantic in over a decade, and roared toward islands in the northeast Caribbean Tuesday on a path that could eventually take it to the United States.

The US National Hurricane Center said Irma was a “potentially catastrophic” storm with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (285 kph) as it bore down on the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda. It was centered about 225 miles (365 kilometers) east of Antigua in the late morning and moving west at 14 mph (22 kph).

The center said there was a growing possibility that the storm’s effects could be felt in Florida later this week and over the weekend, though it was still too early to be sure of its future track: “Everyone in hurricane-prone areas should ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place.”