Irma has been upgraded to a Category 5 hurricane this morning as it heads towards the Caribbean and Southern United States, reports the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
With sustained winds of 175 mph, Irma is now an "extremely dangerous" hurricane and the most powerful hurricane in the Atlantic since Felix in 2007.
According to the NHS, "there is an increasing chance of seeing some impacts from Irma in the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys later this week and this weekend."
The storm "is moving into waters that are warmer and [are] a very favorable environment for even further development," said Heather Tesch of The Weather Channel.
A state of emergency has been issued for all counties in Florida, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. "In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared," said Florida Gov. Rick Scott in a statement released late Monday. "Current forecast models have Florida in Irma's path — potentially impacting millions of Floridians," said Scott. "While the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared."
Scott also says he spoke with President Trump, who offered his full support.
Though Irma is still about 1,500 miles away from Florida, parts of Southern Florida are now in the five-day forecast track cone, with Central Florida still in the cone of uncertainty.
For more information on how to prepare for Irma, visit FLGetAPlan.com