National Weather Service: Hurricane Irma Now A Category 3 Storm, Not An ‘Immediate Threat’ To Harvey Victims

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued an update, upgrading Hurricane Irma to a Category 3 storm on Thursday afternoon. Irma is expected to become another monster hurricane in the days to come.

Victims of the recent flooding disaster brought about by Hurricane Harvey have yet to recover, but a new monster storm is already treading the Atlantic.

According to a recent update from the NWS, as cited by Mashable, Hurricane Irma was spotted 720 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands, gaining momentum while treading the open ocean. Based on its current track, the storm is forecast to affect the Leeward Islands on Tuesday, and continue its course to the west through Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and probably, the mainland U.S.

NBC News reported that Irma packs winds with 115 miles-per-hour of velocity and is still picking up speed.

“Irma is forecast to become a major hurricane by tonight and is expected to be an extremely dangerous hurricane for the next several days,” a bulletin from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) explained.

Speaking to NBC, NHC spokesman and meteorologist Dennis Feltgen revealed that Hurricane Irma has made a mark at the agency’s headquarters because of its “rapid intensification,” though he presented some good news to the outlet for a change.

“The good news is we have lots of time to watch this develop. It’s at least five or six days away from touching any land.”

However, Feltgen has no answer yet as to whether or not the storm is set to leave devastating effects in the U.S. after Hurricane Harvey bashed Houston last week.

“It’s way too soon to say with any certainty how this will affect the United States.”

Meanwhile, National Weather Service’s Eric Blake strongly believes that the storm will become a monster hurricane in the next couple of days, per a report from Express UK.

“Irma is forecast to become a major hurricane by tonight and is expected to be an extremely dangerous hurricane for the next several days.”

That is despite NHC’s forecast that Irma’s strength will fluctuate.

“Fluctuations in strength, both up and down, are possible, but Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane for several days.”

As for its path, predictions on where Hurricane Irma will pass through have been expanded, as it will depend on how the weather pattern develops across North America, something that will also be affected by a typhoon headed into the North Pacific Ocean, according to Mashable.

The outlet further explained that historical studies of previous weather systems have shown that powerful typhoons tend to re-curve away from Japan and into the North Central Pacific. In the process, the weather system can energize into a jet stream.

Despite this, Hurricane Irma isn’t considered an immediate threat to Houston where rescue and recovery operations for victims of Hurricane Harvey are still underway, although it is expected to enter the Gulf of Mexico eventually.

“We’re gonna be way past Labor Day before it treks across the Atlantic Ocean but you can see we need to monitor this for sections of Leeward Islands and also northeastern Caribbean,” The Weather Channel meteorologist Danielle Banks told Express.

[Featured Image by Win McNamee/Getty Images]