The damage from Tropical Storm Harvey is far from over, but another powerful hurricane is on the horizon, and this one could threaten the East Coast. Hurricane Irma was upgraded to a Category 3 storm last night and is expected to reach Category 4 soon. It’s expected to hit next week, though it’s too early to tell which exact areas might be affected.
Hurricanes are categorized by the strength of their winds. Irma, at Category 3, is now expected to have winds of at least 115 miles per hour. (Harvey, initially a Category 4 hurricane, made landfall with winds of about 130 miles per hour.) Once Irma hits Category 4, it could hit wind speeds of 140 mph.
Irma is a "Cape Verde hurricane,” meaning that it started near the Cape Verde islands off the coast of Africa and has moved across the Atlantic. Other Cape Verde hurricanes include Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and Hurricane Hugo in 1989. These can be some of the largest hurricanes.
Right now, the hurricane is scheduled to reach the Caribbean in the next five days. From there, it could hit anywhere from the Bahamas to Florida or North Carolina, but it’s too early to say where exactly it might go.