A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect for Dominica as Hurricane Irma nears the Leeward Islands and the northern Windward Islands.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, in this case within 24-36 hours.

The public is advised to continue to monitor the progress of Irma as warnings could be required at any time.

At 5pm, Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 16.7 degrees north and longitude 54.4 degrees west or about 490 miles east of the Leeward Islands and is now moving west at 13mph. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 130mph making Irma a Category 4 Hurricane. The center of Hurricane Irma is projected to move over or just northeast of the northern Leeward Islands by Tuesday into Wednesday.

Outer bands associated with Hurricane Irma are expected to begin affecting Dominica by tonight. Showers, which could be moderate to heavy at times, thunderstorms, gusty winds up to tropical storm force and dangerous seas are expected to affect Dominica up to Wednesday.

A Small-Craft Warning and a High-Surf Advisory are in effect for dangerous seas and high winds. All users of the sea are advised to take all necessary precautions to protect life and property.

A small-craft Warning means in this case that surface winds greater than or equal to 25knots and seas equal to or greater than 3m (10ft) are already affecting or expected to affect the marine area.

A High-Surf Advisory is issued when breaking wave action poses or is expected to pose a threat to life and property within the surf zone.

Expected rainfall amount for Dominica is between 3 to 4 inches (75 to 100mm) with higher amounts in elevated areas.

· Mariners and other users of the sea should remain extremely cautious and do not venture far from port. All sea bathers stay out of the water.

· Persons in areas prone to flooding, landslides and falling rocks are advised to be extremely vigilant and to exercise extreme caution as flash flooding and winds gusting to tropical storm force are possible tonight into Wednesday.

The next Bulletin on Hurricane Irma will be issued by the Meteorological Service at 8p.m.
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