Threat of Irma comes on heels of Har­vey

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Doyle Rice

For a na­tion reel­ing from the devastation of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey, more un­wel­come news came Wed­nes­day: An­other pos­si­ble threat was brew­ing.

Trop­i­cal Storm Irma formed in the cen­tral At­lantic Ocean, the Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter said, but it’s too early to know its track.

As of 5 p.m. ET, Irma had

60-mph winds. It was about

2,000 miles east of the Lee­ward Is­lands and about

3,000 miles south­east of Mi­ami.

The storm was fore­cast to strengthen into a hur­ri­cane Thurs­day or Fri­day, driv­ing winds of about 75 mph. A trop­i­cal storm be­comes a hur­ri­cane when its sus­tained winds reach 74 mph.

Irma will take about a week to make its trek west across the At­lantic Ocean, Ac­cuWeather said.

WeatherBell me­te­o­rol­o­gist Ryan Maue said Irma will prob­a­bly be­come an in­tense hur­ri­cane of Cat­e­gory

4 or 5 strength, near the Lee­ward Is­lands of the Caribbean. A Cat­e­gory 4 storm has winds of at least 130 mph.

“It is way too soon to say with cer­tainty where and if this sys­tem will im­pact the U.S.,” Ac­cuWeather hur­ri­cane ex­pert Dan Kot­t­lowski said. Pos­si­bil­i­ties range from a land­fall on the Lee­ward Is­lands to the Caroli­nas to Ber­muda, he said.

An­other storm could spin up in the Gulf of Mex­ico by the week­end and could bring more rain to the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

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