Hurricane Irma track shifts slightly west; new watches and warnings issued

MIAMI — Hurricane Irma’s track has shifted slightly west, leading to new watches and warnings, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Irma, downgraded to Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 mph, slammed the Turks and Caicos archipelago early Friday before its powerful core headed between northern Cuba and the central Bahamas.

At noon MDT, the storm was 380 miles southeast of Miami, the National Hurricane Center said.

At least 18 people were killed this week as Irma pummeled northern Caribbean islands such as Barbuda and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In Puerto Rico, hundreds of thousands of people — nearly 70 percent of the U.S. territory’s utility customers — were left without power, the governor’s office said.

“A turn toward the northwest is expected by late Saturday,” the advisory said. “On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should move near the north coast of Cuba and the central Bahamas (Friday) and Saturday, and be near the Florida Keys and the southern Florida Peninsula (on) Sunday morning.”

A hurricane watch has been extended northward along the east coast of Florida to the Flagler/Volusia County Line, and along the
west coast of Florida to the Anclote River.

A storm surge warning has been extended from Jupiter Inlet northward to Sebastian Inlet and from Bonita Beach northward to
Venice, according to the advisory.

A storm surge watch has been issued from north of Sebastian Inlet to Ponce Inlet.