FIRST ALERT: Hurricane Irma pushing towards northern Leeward Islands

FIRST ALERT: Hurricane Irma pushing towards northern Leeward Islands

(WBTV) - Hurricane Irma continues to hold her own, pushing closer to the northern Leeward Islands as we speak.

This storm is incredibly strong and dangerous. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to weaken over the next few days. It may very well stay as a category 4 or 5 through the rest of the week and into the weekend.

Antigua seems to be its next target. The British and US Virgin Islands are certainly not in the clear.

As the storm continues to make progress, remember, it doesn't take a direct hit to really cause problems. Hurricane force winds extend out 60 miles from the center. Tropical storm force winds go out 175 miles from the center.

Even just a "close call" could cause major damage to any of the islands. Plus, just a small fluctuation in the path could result in a direct hit for any of them.

The National Hurricane Center continues to plot a similar path, with the storm running right through the Caribbean and ending up close to south Florida by Sunday. The current track (which is still subject to change) could mean a direct hit for Key West.

The NHC forecast only goes out through Sunday afternoon. However, several models are then turning the storm to the north and could potentially bring heavy rain and gusty winds to the Carolinas. That is why we are watching the storm so closely. We will continue to monitor the situation as time goes on.

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