Published: Tuesday 05 September, 2017

(Updated) Hurricane IRMA: US East Coast, Gulf Residents Told to Prepare NOW

A new tropical storm has formed in the Atlantic. Tropical storm Irma is expected to intensify into a hurricane later this week, and comes on the heels of Hurricane Harvey whose effects are still wreaking havoc in pasts of the US.

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma moving towards the northern Caribbean. (AFP Getty Images)

Tropical storm Irma has been spotted near the Cabo Verde Islands and will take anout a week to cross the Atlantic. By that time, however, Irma would have intensified into a hurricane. Meteorologists predict the storm will intensify into Hurricane Irma in the next 48 hours – the fourth hurricane of the season.

Scroll down for update below

According to the latest update from the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC), Tropical storm Irma was located about 480 miles (770 km) west of Cape Verde Islands and is packing maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (95 km/h) on Wednesday.

It is still too early to say if the potential Hurricane Irma will reach the US as there are many atmospheric factors that will determine its fate in the next few days. But meteorologists will closely track the storm and regular updates will be announced to the public.

Hurricane Irma

The possible path of Hurricane Irma. (AccuWeather photo)

The concern over Tropical Storm Irma is understandable coming on the heels of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. Many Americans, especially those in Harvey-affected areas, are already nervous of the potential damage Irma would bring.

To date, the death toll in Hurricane Harvey is 23 but officials expect the number to rise when the flooding subsides when those trapped by the waters are found.

UPDATE: According to the latest update from the US National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Irma is packing 120 mph winds and is forecast to strengthen further in the next three days. Latest location was 530 miles east of the Leeward Islands, and moving west northwest at 14 mph.

Meanwhile, US residents in the East Coast and Gulf states are being told to prepare for Hurricane Irma as early as now. Depending on the track the Irma follows after battering the northern Caribbean, the hurricane may make landfall in Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas.

It may also veer towards the Gulf states still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma forecast path. (AccuWeather)