PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Irma is now a Category 3 hurricane moving through the Atlantic Ocean.
The National Hurricane Center said in its Wednesday 5 p.m. update that the storm was located 720 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands, off the northwest coast of Africa.
Irma is currently moving west-northwest at 12 mph and is expected to move in a generally westward direction by the weekend. The hurricane center says this motion is expected to continue Thursday, followed by a westward turn on Saturday, and a west-southwestward motion by Sunday.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 115 mph, with higher gusts.
Fluctuations in strength — both up and down — are possible, but Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane for several days.
The hurricane center said Thursday Irma is forecast to strengthen to a Category 4 storm east of the Leeward Islands next week.
Harvey brought catastrophic flooding to the Houston area earlier this week.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.