Hurricane Irma strengthens in Atlantic, threat to US still uncertain

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A new storm is strengthening in the Atlantic Ocean even as much of the southern United States continues to deal with the lingering effects of Hurricane Harvey.

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Hurricane Irma is officially a Category 3 storm as of Thursday evening, and it is expected to continue to strengthen as it moves west-northwest at 12 mph. It currently has maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Enhanced satellite image of Hurricane Irma on Sept. 1, 2017 via ABC News.ABC NEWS
Enhanced satellite image of Hurricane Irma on Sept. 1, 2017 via ABC News.

It doesn't currently pose a threat to land, and it's too early to say exactly what track the storm will take.

Irma is expected to become a Category 4 storm by Monday.

Forecast track for Hurricane Irma on Sept. 1, 2017 via ABC News.ABC NEWS
Forecast track for Hurricane Irma on Sept. 1, 2017 via ABC News.

Even though the storm is a week or more away from threatening the United States -- if at all -- Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards was asked about the storm on Thursday. He said simply "we don't know where it's going to go," but a Federal Emergency Management Agency official with Edwards said they will start planning for the storm.

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