(WVUE) - Potentially catastrophic Hurricane Irma has strengthened even more as it barrels toward the Leeward Islands, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Officials are urging preparations be rushed to completion in hurricane warning areas.
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Maximum sustained winds are now 180 mph.
At 10 a.m. the center of Hurricane Irma was located 225 miles east of Antigua and about 230 miles east-southeast of Barbuda.
The storm is moving west at 14 mph.
A special advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 2 p.m.
Watches and Warnings
- A hurricane warning is in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, and Nevis Saba, St. Eustatius, Saint Maarten, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra
- A hurricane watch is in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the northern border with Haiti, Haiti from the northern border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas, Turks and Caicos Islands, Southeastern Bahamas
- A tropical storm warning is in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica
- A tropical storm watch is in effect for Dominican Republic from south of Cabo Engao to Isla Saona, Haiti from south of Le Mole St. Nicholas to Port-Au-Prince
Gulf moisture will increase Tuesday ahead of the cold front allowing for a few stray showers or storms.
Highs will be in the mid to upper 80s with rain chances 30 to 40 percent Tuesday and Wednesday.
The front will push through tomorrow bringing lower humidity and temperatures by Thursday.
Severe weather is not expected, but there may be one or two strong storms.
Behind the front, highs will be in the low 80s, and overnight lows could hit the upper 50s on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain and upper 60s on the south shore for the end of the week.
For updates on-the-go and all day long, download our free FOX Weather App at fox8live.com/apps or call the Delta World Tire Weather Phone at 504-500-2888.