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WRONG KIND OF UPGRADE: Hurricane Irma Is Now A Menacing Category 4 Storm: National Hurricane Center

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MIAMI — A “formidable” hurricane that is heading for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico has been upgraded to a menacing Category 4 storm.

Hurricane Irma, which is currently in the mid Atlantic, is expected to bring “life-threatening winds,” according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami.

The storm, which was 716 miles east of St. Croix at 6 p.m. on Monday, has winds of 130 mph and is moving west at 13 mph.

Officials are warning that Irma could dump up to 10 inches of rain, unleash landslides and dangerous flash floods and generate waves of up to seven meters as the storm draws closer.

“Preparations within the warning area should be rushed to completion,” the NHC said.

Irma could directly affect the U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands on Wednesday and Puerto Rico on Thursday.

Tropical storm force winds could arrive in these areas by early on Wednesday, forecasters warned.

A Hurricane Watch was issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico this morning.

The Bahamas, Antigua and Cuba are also on hurricane watch, while there is an “increasing chance” that parts of the Florida Peninsula could be hit, the NHC said.


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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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