As of 5 a.m. Wednesday, Hurricane Irma remains a Category 5 storm. The storm's max sustained winds are at 185 mph. With wind gusts hitting an incredible 225 mph. Category 5 storms include any storm with sustained winds topping 155 mph.
Early Wednesday morning, the eye of the storm passed over the island of Barbuda and is now heading towards St. Martin. Later today, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico will see a close encounter with Irma.
The forward movement of Irma this morning is to the west-northwest at 16 mph. In the past few hours, the central atmospheric pressure has fallen to 914 millibars.
Hurricane-force winds extend up to 50 miles from the center of the storm, and tropical storm-force winds go out up to 175 miles from the storm.
The massive eye beared down on Barbuda early Wednesday, thrashing it with howling winds before it marched along its path on the Caribbean.
Irma's eye was bigger than Barbuda. Islands near its expected path Wednesday morning and early afternoon include St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the British and US Virgin Islands.
-- The storm's center is expected to pass near or just north of Puerto Rico on Wednesday afternoon or night.
-- Irma then is expected to turn toward the Turks and Caicos islands and the southeastern Bahamas, where storm surges of up to 20 feet are possible, the hurricane center said.
The eye of the storm hit the island of Barbuda, which has a population of around 2,000 people, at about 02:00 local time
"Early indications seem to show that Antigua has not been too badly hit, but we cannot say the same for Barbuda as we don't yet know The Antigua Observer said it had received initial reports of roofs being blown off on both islands.
While early reports from Antigua were hopeful, there was extraordinary concern there about residents of Barbuda. People on Antigua said in text messages and on social media that phone lines to the sister island had been down for several hours, leaving most residents there unreachable.
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