Additionally, a tropical storm warning is in effect for Dominica and for the southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano westward to the border with Haiti.
A hurricane watch is also in effect for the north coast Haiti from the border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas. A hurricane watch has also been issued for Cuba from Matanzas Province eastward to Guantanamo Province.
Low wind shear, increased mid-level moisture and ample oceanic-heat content favor that Irma will remain a powerful hurricane (Category 4 or stronger) for the next several days, though some intensity fluctuations are likely at times. At this intensity, small deviations in wind speed will not change impacts. A direct hit will be catastrophic.
For the next five days, Irma will move west-northwest on the south side of a ridge of high pressure called the Bermuda high, centered in the central Atlantic.