MIAMI, Florida- Hurricane Irma, packing wind gusts over 185 mph has slammed into the British Virgin Islands as it makes its was westward on a possible collision course with Florida. Behind Irma, the National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Jose will likely gain hurricane strength today. The governor of South Carolina has joined Florida in declaring a State of Emergency in advance of Irma.

1:00 PM AST Wed Sep 6
Location: 18.4°N 64.5°W
Moving: WNW at 16 mph
Min pressure: 920 mb
Max sustained: 185 mph

Jose is centered as of 11 a.m. AST/EDT over the central tropical Atlantic Ocean about 1135 miles (1825 km) east of the Lesser Antilles, and moving toward the west-northwest near 17 mph (28 km/h). This general direction is expected to continue over the next couple of days. The NHC says maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph with higher accompanying gusts. Continued gradual strengthening is forecast and Jose is expected to become a hurricane by later today, they said.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced that Miami-Dade county will start to evacuate special needs residents on Wednesday and they may begin to evacuate residents from zones A and B on Thursday, holding off on mandatory orders for now. Zone A encompasses a large swath of Miami-Dade County, including Key Biscayne, and zone B includes Miami Beach.

Irma is centered as of 11 a.m. AST/EDT about 140 miles (225 km) east of San Juan, Puerto Rico and about 65 miles (110 km) east-southeast of St. Thomas, moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h). On the forecast track, the extremely dangerous core of Irma will move over portions of the Virgin Islands very soon, pass near or just north of Puerto Rico this afternoon or tonight, pass near or just north of the coast of the Dominican Republic Thursday, and be near the Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas late Thursday, the NHC said.

Irma’s maximum sustained winds are near 185 mph (295 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days, the NHC explained. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 50 miles (85 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles (295 km). The estimated minimum central pressure is 918 mb (27.11 inches).

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra, Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the northern border with Haiti, Haiti from the northern border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas, the Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Cuba from Matanzas province eastward to Guantanamo province and for the Central Bahamas, the NHC said.

For more information regarding impacts, go to
The next complete advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 5 p.m. AST/EDT with an intermediate advisory at 2 p.m. AST/EDt –