Powerful Hurricane Irma is expected to strengthen over the eastern Atlantic Ocean during the weekend — potentially becoming as potent as a Category 5 storm as it whirls its way towards a possible landfall.

Irma formed and strengthened to a Category 3 storm on Thursday and was forecast to be an “extremely dangerous” storm for the next several days, according to The National Hurricane Center.

"The models are trending towards perhaps curving away from the U.S.," Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean said, adding the storm, however, was coming "a little too close to comfort for the East Coast."

The storm was moving west-northwest near 13 mph. Its maximum sustained winds had increased to near 115 mph.

So far no coastal watches or warnings were in effect but it was too early to determine if it would make landfall or pose a threat to the United States.

Should Irma strike the U.S., it could form a devastating 1-2 punch of Category 4 storms after the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Harvey last weekend.

HURRICANE IRMA NOW CATEGORY 3 STORM, FORECAST TO BE ‘EXTREMELY DANGEROUS’

Forecasters expect Irma to make contact with the Lesser Antilles but it was not clear where it would directly hit. Storm watchers advise residents in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Lesser Antilles to monitor the storm.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lidia lashed Mexico’s resort-studded southern Baja California Peninsula with heavy rains and is responsible for at least four deaths in the country's Los Cabos.

Arturo de la Rosa Escalante, mayor of the twin resorts of Los Cabos, said two people were
electrocuted by power lines, a woman drowned after being swept away by water on a flooded street and a baby was ripped from its mother's arms as she crossed a flooded area.

AS TEXAS FLOODWATERS RECEDE, DANGERS ABOUND

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Lidia could produce total accumulations of as much as 6 to 12 inches across much of Baja California Sur state and western Jalisco state on the mainland, threatening flash floods and landslides.

Lidia had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph Friday with weakening expected over the next few days as the storm reaches the mountainous terrain of Baja California. Its center was about 65 miles west-northwest of La Paz and was heading northwest at about 9 mph.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

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