Hurricane Irma has produced the highest wind speeds in the Atlantic Ocean (185 mph) and the second highest in the Atlantic Basin (including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico).
Hurricane Allen in 1980 had higher winds at 190 mph.
Colorado State Atmospheric Science Associate Professor Michael Bell joined 9NEWS Mornings today to give us some perspective on the extreme intensity of Hurricane Irma.
Dr. Bell discussed how upper level steering winds stalled Hurricane Harvey, creating the deluge of rain of Eastern Texas, compared to the faster winds guiding Irma, which will move the storm more quickly.
The Bahamas are in the direct path of the storm, but the long-term forecast is less certain for the U.S. Florida is in under a state of emergency in anticipation of a possible landfall.
The most recent computer models are forecasting a more easterly track, which may carry the eye of Irma east of Florida.