Irma, a deadly Category 4 storm churning in the Atlantic with 155 mph sustained winds, is expected to make landfall in Florida on Sunday morning.
Irma will continue to bring life-threatening winds and waters to portions of the Bahamas and the north coast of Cuba, especially over the adjacent Cuban Keys, through Saturday, the National Hurricane Center says.
The storm has killed at least 22 people in the Caribbean and left thousands homeless as it devastated small resort islands.
The dead include 11 on St. Martin and St. Barts, four in the U.S. Virgin Islands and four in the British Virgin Islands. There was also one each in Barbuda, Anguilla, and Barbados.
The storm could become a Category 5 hurricane again when it reaches Florida, a National Hurricane Center spokesman said. But an 8 p.m. EDT Friday advisory from the hurricane center later said that the storm is forecast to hit Florida as a Category 4 storm.
Hurricane conditions are expected in the northwestern Bahamas Friday and Saturday, and in portions of southern and central Florida and the Florida Keys Saturday night or early Sunday, the hurricane center says. Tropical storm conditions are possible in Florida by late Saturday.
In addition to the hurricane warnings, storm surge watches and warnings are in effect and indicate the danger of life-threatening conditions from rising water moving inland from shoreline.
The following watches and warnings are in effect for Florida:
Hurricane Warning (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are expected)
Sebastian Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Anna Maria Island; Florida Keys; Lake Okeechobee; Florida Bay; Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, and Villa Clara; central Bahamas and Ragged Island; northwestern Bahamas.
Hurricane Watch (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher are possible)
North of Sebastian Inlet to the Flagler/Volusia county line; north of Anna Maria Island to the Suwannee River; Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas and Matanzas.
Tropical Storm Warning (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph are expected)
Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Holguin and Las Tunas.
Storm Surge Warning
Sebastian Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Venice; Florida Keys.
Storm Surge Watch
North of Sebastian Inlet to the Flagler/Volusia County line; north of Venice to Anclote River; Tampa Bay.
Follow along for updates (all times EDT):
Hurricane Irma’s fierce…