LAKE MARY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Hurricane Irma has strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane as it approaches the northeast Caribbean. It is expected to hit the region on Tuesday.
The storm's center is 410 miles (660 kilometers) east of the Leeward Islands late Monday afternoon. It has maximum sustained winds of 140 mph (220 kph) and is moving west at 13 mph (20 kph).
Emergency officials are warning that Irma could dump up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain, unleash landslides and dangerous flash floods and generate waves of up to 23 feet (7 meters) as the storm draws closer.
A hurricane warning has been issued for Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Martin, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and St. Barts, the British and U.S. Virgin islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra. A hurricane watch is in effect for Guadeloupe.
"Could it turn north and head up the East Coast? Yes," Richards said. "There are a lot of question marks when it comes to Irma. This is a storm that we need to take seriously."
Follow FOX 35 on TV and online to get the latest on where Hurricane Irma is headed. Build an emergency kit while you still have time and stores have supplies.
Here are important links to keep handy as you prepare for Irma. Know your evacuation zones, by visiting FloridaDisaster.org. Track the storm and get your FOX 35 Hurricane Guide at OrlandoHurricane.com. You can view and download the Hurricane Guide (PDF) by clicking here.