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Tropical Storm Irma nears hurricane strength in Atlantic

Tropical Storm Irma nears hurricane strength in Atlantic
Posted at 6:29 AM, Aug 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-31 03:17:55-04

(RNN) - Tropical Storm Irma continues its westward trek as it builds strength in the tropical Atlantic, and it is one for the mainland U.S. to watch.

As of the 5 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Irma was located at 590 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands, moving west at 12 mph with 70 mph sustained winds - very close to hurricane strength.

Interests in the U.S. will likely need to keep an eye on the storm's progress.

A west-northwestward motion is expected Thursday, followed by a generally westward motion on Friday.

Since Irma is located so far out in the Atlantic, no watches and warnings have been issued yet.

Forecasters said Irma will turn toward a slightly south of westward heading in a couple of days, and it will be a major hurricane by the time it reaches the eastern Caribbean early next week. 

The U.S. is still coping with Harvey, now a tropical depression.

Weather related to Harvey has claimed at least 30 lives and flooded a major metropolitan area with catastrophic, record-breaking rainfall that has driven thousands from their homes. 

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