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Hurricane Irma barrels toward Florida as 'powerful' Category 5 storm
ABC NEWS
Posted on: September 7th 2017
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© ABC NEWS

Hurricane Irma skirted north of the Dominican Republic early Thursday as the Category 5 storm set its sights on south Florida after leaving devastation in its wake in the Caribbean.

Irma had maximum sustained winds of 180 mph as of 5 a.m. on Thursday morning as it moved away from the northern coast of Puerto Rico and over the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The wind speeds were down slightly from the day before, according to the National Weather Service, but only by 5 mph.

Irma was about 95 miles north of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic at 5 a.m. on Thursday and moving west-northwest at 17 mph. The storm is expected to graze the northern Dominican Republic and Haiti with rain and gusty winds during the day Thursday. Storm surge on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic could be 3 to 5 feet.

Tropical force winds extend 185 miles outward from the center of the storm.

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