Alert: Irma now a category 5 hurricane

Alert: Irma now a category 5 hurricane

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Hurricane Irma has winds in excess of 175 miles per hour. That makes it a category five hurricane as it roars west toward Puerto Rico. At the moment, its track takes the massive hurricane just south of Florida's tip by Sunday. What it does next will likely come into sharper focus over the next 24 hours.

"We're going to watch it very carefully," WLOX meteorologist Wesley Williams said right after the 7:00 a.m. advisory came out. "The forecast does nudge it into the eastern Gulf of Mexico."

Forecasters expect Irma to eventually turn north. Whether that happens before or after the hurricane reaches Florida will determine if it becomes a threat to South Mississippi. "It's going to fluctuate in intensity," Williams explained, "because its eyewall is going through a cycle that grows and shrinks significantly."

The WLOX First Alert Weather team is closely monitoring Hurricane Irma. Watch WLOX News Now and download to the WLOX Weather app for the latest updates on Irma.

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