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Hurricane Irma hits Barbuda, heads to Virgin Islands

ON THE MOVE: Hurricane Irma

AN UPDATE from the US National Hurricane Center says Irma will hit the northern Leeward Islands this morning, the Virgin Islands later today, and pass near Puerto Rico tonight.

According to The Guardian, the eye of Hurricane Irma has moved away from Barbuda and is heading towards St Martin, it said. Maximum sustained winds of about 185 mph (295 km/h) with higher gusts are forecast.

“Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days,” it said. Hurricane force winds up to 50 miles (85km) from the centre are expected.

The combination of a life-threatening storm surge and large breaking waves will raise water levels by up to 11ft (3.35 metres) on the Turks and Caicos Islands and northern Puerto Rico; up to 20ft (6.1 metres) on south-eastern Bahamas, and the northern coast of the Dominican Republic.

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