Big shift west for Hurricane Irma’s forecast track


Thursday 11 p.m. update

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/AP) – The National Hurricane Center’s 11 p.m. update has Hurricane Irma’s track shifting west – leaving most of North Carolina out of the cone of uncertainty.

Irma will still make landfall in Florida and move up the peninsula.

The track would be a disaster for Florida where residents are cramming highways to evacuate. The National Weather Service said Irma is a serious threat to South Florida and called it a “potentially deadly situation.”

The last Category 5 storm to hit Florida was Andrew in 1992.MOBILE USERS: Click here for Irma maps and images

Irma’s winds have dropped to 165 mph from 185 mph just a day ago.

Rain and wind could hit central North Carolina next Monday and Tuesday.

Irma could weaken to a tropical storm by the time it reaches Georgia.

Earlier, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal ordered evacuations for all areas east of Interstate 95, including the city of Savannah, and authorized about 5,000 National Guard members to help with response and recovery.

The last time Georgia was struck by a hurricane of force Category 3 or higher happened in 1898.

More than 1 million people in Puerto Rico are without power – nearly 70 percent of customers of Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority. Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Thursday that crews are investigating and until they know the extent of the damage, “it will be difficult to estimate how long the power outage will last.”

Many Caribbean islands are still trying to fully comprehend the damage.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said four people were confirmed dead and about 50 injured on the French side of St. Martin, an island split between Dutch and French control, where homes were splintered and road signs scattered by the fierce winds.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the storm “caused wide-scale destruction of infrastructure, houses and businesses.”CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO PREPARE FOR A HURRICANE

At least four people were killed in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and officials said they expected to find more bodies. Authorities described the damage as catastrophic and said crews were struggling to reopen roads and restore power.

Three more deaths were reported on the British island of Anguilla, as well as Barbuda and the Dutch side of St. Martin.CLICK HERE FOR THE READYNC WEBSITE

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