11AM Update - Hurricane Irma is now a Category 3 but expected to strengthen

At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Irma was located by a reconnaissance plane and radar near latitude 22.8 North, longitude 79.8 West. Irma is moving toward the west along the north coast of Cuba at near 9 mph (15 km/h).  A northwest motion is expected to begin later today with a turn toward the north- northwest on Sunday.  On the forecast track, the core of Irma will continue to move near or over the north coast of Cuba later today, and will reach the Florida Keys Sunday morning.  The hurricane is expected to move along or near the southwest coast of Florida Sunday afternoon.

Maximum sustained winds are near 125 mph (205 km/h) with higher gusts.  Irma is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Irma is forecast to restrengthen once it moves away from Cuba, and Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane as it approaches Florida.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km).  Caibarien, Cuba recently reported a wind gust to 124 mph (200 km/h).

The minimum central pressure reported by an Air Force plane was 941 mb (27.79 inches). 

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