US officials say Hurricane Irma formed in Atlantic, likely to become major by Thursday night

Miami: Hurricane Irma has formed in the eastern Atlantic as a Category Two storm, just days after the first major hurricane of the season, Harvey, unleashed massive rain and floods over Texas, US officials said on Thursday.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Hurricane Irma churned in open waters off the west coast of Africa, packing winds of 160 kilometers per hour, said the Miami-based National Hurricane Center in its advisory.

"Irma is forecast to become a major hurricane by tonight and is expected to be an extremely dangerous hurricane for the next several days," it said.

The storm is currently far from land, but is heading straight toward the southern Caribbean, to the area between the US island territory of Puerto Rico and South America's northern coastline.

Irma is forecast to reach the Lesser Antilles islands in the Caribbean early next week.

South Florida meteorologist Craig Setzer said it was far too early to tell if the storm would impact Florida or the Gulf of Mexico.

Anxiety is running high over the risk of another storm in the southern United States after Harvey pounded the coast of Texas, making landfall Friday as a Category Four hurricane.

If Irma reaches Category Three as expected, she will become the second major storm of the Atlantic season.

Irma gathered strength quickly, rising to hurricane status less than 24 hours after forming as a tropical storm.

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Updated Date: Aug 31, 2017 21:58:23 IST

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