Irma rapidly strengthens to Category 2 hurricane, forecast to be ‘extremely dangerous’

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MIAMI — Tropical storm Irma “rapidly” intensified Thursday, growing into a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph sustained winds and is forecast to be an “extremely dangerous” storm for the next several days, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm is in the Atlantic Ocean, about 650 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands, moving west-northwest at 10 mph.

The storm is forecast grow to a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds between 111 to 129 mph by Thursday night.

The National Hurricane Center said Irma is expected to be “an extremely dangerous hurricane for the next several days.”

It’s still too early to tell whether Irma will pass well north of the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico, or have direct impacts there by the middle of next week.

Any impacts to the mainland U.S. are 10 to 11 days away.