Irma expected to become Category 5 as it approaches South Florida

Hurricane Irma is forecast to once again become a Category 5 storm before arriving near South Florida sometime Sunday morning.

The 5 p.m. advisory was a bit of a shock as Irma had been gradually weakening over the previous 12 hours.

"The environment Irma is moving into will allow the storm to gather more steam as it approaches our area," said Local 10 Chief Certified Meteorologist Betty Davis.

The storm is currently packing winds of 155 mph as it remains 345 miles southeast of Miami, but it is continuing to slow down.

The National Hurricane Center said Irma was moving west at 12 mph.

"We still have a dangerous major hurricane headed towards the Florida Keys and the southern part of Florida," said Local 10's Hurricane Specialist Max Mayfield. "Although it is interesting to the people on the east coast that it has shifted to the left."

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A hurricane warning was issued Thursday evening for all of South Florida and the Florida Keys.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center. Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 185 miles.

A hurricane warning is in effect from Jupiter Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach, as well as for the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee and Florida Bay. 

A storm surge warning was also issued from Jupiter Inlet south around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach and the Florida Keys.

There was also a storm surge watch issued from the Jupiter Inlet to Sebastian Inlet and for the west coast of Florida north of Bonita Beach to Anna Maria Island. 

The potential surge flooding for the Florida Keys was 3 feet above ground. The surge flooding for the Cutler Bay area was projected to be 9 feet above water. 

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This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.