CHARLESTON, SC (WSCC) - Hurricane watches were issued for portions of the Leeward Islands, as Irma stayed on a course that shows the storm interacting directly with the island weather by middle to late next week.
Current forecasts indicate that Irma will still be a major hurricane at that time.
The government of Antigua has issued a Hurricane Watch for the islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, and Nevis.
The government of the Netherlands has issued a Hurricane Watch for the islands of Saba, St. Eustatius, and Sint Maarten.The government of France has issued a Hurricane Watch for St. Martin and Saint Barthelemy.
Forecasters at the national Hurricane Center in Miami say Irma has top sustained winds of 115 mph. Some strengthening is expected in the next 48 hours.
Irma is moving west at roughly 14 mph.
Forecasters say they expect a gradual reduction in forward speed.
Irma is located about 790 miles east of the Leeward Islands.
Interests across the Caribbean and along Atlantic coast are advised to monitor the progress of the system.