Last Updated Sep 2, 2017 3:39 PM EDT
Far out over the Atlantic,was expected to remain a small but powerful storm throughout the weekend while following a course that could bring it near the eastern Caribbean Sea by early next week.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said early Saturday morning that the storm “continues to fluctuate in strength but remains a powerful hurricane.” In a subsequent advisory, the NHC said Irma was a “small hurricane,” with hurricane-force winds extending 25 miles from its center.
Irma has maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, making it a Category 2 storm, the NHC said. Irma had strengthened to a Category 3 on Thursday, with maximum sustained winds near 120 mph.
The storm is now located about 1,220 miles east of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean and moving west at 15 mph. It is expected to slow down and move toward the west-southwest over the next several days, the NHC said.
Forecasters said earlier Saturday that Irma was expected to “remain a powerful hurricane into early next week.” No coastal watches or warnings are in effect.
Irma formed on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, which struck the Gulf Coast of Texas Aug. 26. due to torrential rain and flooding.
Tropical Storm Lidia
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lidia marched up Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula on Saturday, dumping more heavy rains on a region where it has already flooded streets and homes, stranded tourists and left at least five people dead.
Lidia’s maximum sustained winds dropped to 40 mph, just above the minimum threshold for a tropical storm, as its center passed over a sparsely populated area of the peninsula that is home to a large nature reserve and back out over Pacific waters. It was forecast to lose more strength over the course of the day.
Authorities have said the death toll could rise over the weekend as emergency crews surveyed the damage in villages with ramshackle homes. One person was considered missing and video broadcast on local networks showed vehicles being swept away by flooded rivers.
Baja California Sur Gov. Carlos Mendoza reported that Lidia had dumped about 27 inches of rain, “the largest…