The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch for South Florida. Forecasters predict Hurricane Irma will likely make landfall in Florida as a Category 4 storm.
Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties are all now under a watch, which is issued 48 hours in advance by the NHC. This means hurricane conditions will be possible within the next two days in the specified area, and residents should prepare accordingly.
A hurricane warning, meanwhile, means hurricane conditions are expected in the area within 36 hours of the anticipated onset of hurricane-force winds. By the time a warning is announced, all storm preparations and evacuations should be completed.
The NHC in Miami said hurricane-force winds extended 50 miles from Irma’s center and tropical storm-force winds extended 175 miles.
As of 2 p.m., Irma was located 65 miles north-northeast of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. It was moving west-northwest at 16 miles per hour, with wind speeds of 175 miles per hour.