7 p.m. Update: Apalachicola area also sees Hurricane Irma risks heighten as a Hurricane Warning has been issued for the most northern point along the Gulf of Mexico at Indian Pass.

In the 7 p.m. report by the National Hurricane Center, the Emerald Coast remains under Tropical Storm Watch as Hurricane Irma turns toward Florida.

According to the report from the Hurricane Center, Irma was 175 miles southeast of Key West at 7 p.m. and headed for the predicted catastrophic landfall in Florida.

Irma's movement was west-northwest at 7 mph, the lower speed signaling the turn toward to Florida. The predicted current landfall is somewhere near the Naples/Fort Myers area by late Sunday night. The effects of landfall will be devastating with storm surge, on top of 10-20 inches of rain predictions, being between 10 to 15 feet.

According to the latest Hurricane Center report, the following warnings and watches are in place for Florida:

Storm Surge Warning
—South Santee River southward around the Florida peninsula to the Suwanee River
—Florida Keys
—Tampa Bay

Storm Surge Watch
—North of the Suwanee River to Ochlockonee River

Hurricane Warning
—Fernandina Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to Indian Pass
—Florida Keys
—Lake Okeechobee
—Florida Bay
—Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Matanzas, and Havana
—Andros Island, Bimini, and Grand Bahama

Hurricane Watch
—North of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach

Tropical Storm Warning
—West of Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line
—North of Fernandina Beach to South Santee River

4 p.m. Update

In its 4 p.m. report, the National Hurricane Center noted that the eye of Hurricane Irma was beginning to slowly move away from the coast of Cuba, which will signal its turn toward Florida.

Positioned 115 miles southeast of Key West, the massive storm is already beginning to initiate deteriorating weather in South Florida. Irma is currently a Category 3 storm, but is expected to strengthen to Category 4 status after it moves away from Cuba into open, warm waters.

Also increasing in risk is the status for Northwest Florida. In the Hurricane Center's latest report, the Tropical Storm Watch from the Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass in Gulf County has been upgraded to a Tropical Storm Warning. The Hurricane Watch that was in place for Indian Pass, located near Apalachicola, has also been upgraded to a Hurricane Warning.



A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area in the next 48 hours. This warning indicates a high probability of the area taking on sustained winds between 39 and 73 mph.

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area in the next 48 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

The maximum wind speeds of Irma were recorded at 125 miles per hour as its course has changed from moving solely west throughout much of the past 24 hours to a west-northwest track. A notable change has occurred in the storm's drop in minimum central pressure, now at 933 millibars (27.55 inches), which was recorded by a NOAA Hurricane Hunter plane.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles. Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International airport recently reported a sustained wind of 47 mph and a gust of 70 mph.

On the forecast track, the core of Irma will continue to move near the north coast of Cuba during the next few hours, then turn and reach the Florida Keys on Sunday morning. The hurricane is expected to move along or near the southwest coast of Florida on Sunday afternoon.

The following watches and warnings are in effect:

Storm Surge Warning

—South Santee River southward around the Florida peninsula to the Suwanee River

—Florida Keys

—Tampa Bay

Storm Surge Watch

—North of the Suwanee River to Ochlockonee River

Hurricane Warning

—Fernandina Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to Indian Pass

—Florida Keys

—Lake Okeechobee

—Florida Bay

—Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Matanzas, Havana

—Andros Island, Bimini, Grand Bahama

Hurricane Watch

—North of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach

—West of the Aucilla River to Indian Pass

Tropical Storm Warning

—West of Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line

—North of Fernandina Beach to South Santee River

1 p.m. Update

Still lingering over the north coast of Cuba, the National Hurricane Center noted in its 1 p.m. report that major hurricane force winds are expected from Hurricane Irma over the Florida Keys at daybreak Sunday.

Currently 65 miles east of Varadero, Cuba, and 145 miles southeast of Key West, Irma was maintaining 125 mph winds as it continued to slowly move west at 9 mph. The storm's minimum central pressure remained at 941 millibars (27.79 inches).

All the watches and warnings for Florida (listed below) that were announced in the NHC's 11 a.m. report remained the same as the state braces for the arrival of the record-breaking storm.

In Northwest Florida, a Tropical Storm Watch is effect from the Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass in Gulf County.

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Indian Pass near Apalachicola. Indian Pass is the northern most spot on the Gulf of Mexico in the critical cone of uncertainty for Irma.

Irma is still a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, but is expected to restrengthen once it moves away from Cuba and remain a powerful hurricane as it approaches Florida. A NOAA plane was airborne at 1 p.m. enroute to investigate Irma.

With tornadoes possible today and tonight in southern Florida, Irma is expected to produce the following rain accumulations through Wednesday:

Northern Cuba: 10 to 15 inches, isolated 20 inches.

Southern Cuba: 5 to 10 inches, isolated 15 inches.

Western Bahamas: 3 to 6 inches, isolated 10 inches.

The Florida Keys: 10 to 20 inches, isolated 25 inches.

The Florida peninsula and southeast Georgia: 8 to 15 inches, isolated 20 inches.

The eastern Florida Panhandle: 3 to 6 inches, isolated 8 inches.

Rest of eastern Georgia, western South Carolina, and western North Carolina: 4 to 8 inches.

Western Georgia, eastern and northern Alabama, and southern Tennessee: 2 to 5 inches.

In all areas this rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods and, in some areas, mudslides.

Life-threatening storm surge is expected upon Irma's arrival in Florida. The water is expected to reach the following HEIGHTS ABOVE GROUND if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide:

Cape Sable to Captiva: 10 to 15 feet

Captiva to Ana Maria Island: 6 to 10 feet

Card Sound Bridge through Cape Sable, including the Florida Keys: 5 to 10 feet

Ana Maria Island to Clearwater Beach, including Tampa Bay: 5 to 8 feet

North Miami Beach to Card Sound Bridge, including Biscayne Bay: 4 to 6 feet

Isle of Palms, South Carolina to Fernandina Beach: 4 to 6 feet

Clearwater Beach to Ochlockonee River: 4 to 6 feet

Fernandina Beach to North Miami Beach: 2 to 4 feet

The current watches and warnings in effect are:

Storm Surge Warning

—Volusia/Brevard County Line southward around the Florida peninsula to the Suwanee River

—Florida Keys

—Tampa Bay

Storm Surge Watch

—North of the Volusia/Brevard County Line to the Isle of Palms, South Carolina

—North of the Suwanee River to Ochlockonee River

Hurricane Warning

—Fernandina Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to the Aucilla River

—Florida Keys

—Lake Okeechobee

—Florida Bay

—Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Matanzas, Havana

—Andros Island, Bimini, Grand Bahama

Hurricane Watch

—North of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach

—West of the Aucilla River to Indian Pass

—Cuban provinces of Holguin and Las Tunas

Tropical Storm Warning

—Cuban provinces of Holguin, Las Tunas

Tropical Storm Watch

—North of Edisto Beach to South Santee River

—West of Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line

11 a.m. Update

Northwest Florida has entered the storm advisories being issued by the National Hurricane Center as a Tropical Storm Watch is now in effect from the Okaloosa/Walton County Line to Indian Pass in Gulf County.

Another notable item in the 11 a.m. report by the Hurricane Center is that the Apalachicola area remains under a Hurricane Watch. Indian Pass is the northern most spot on the Gulf of Mexico in the critical cone of uncertainty for Hurricane Irma.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

Irma was continuing to pound the north coast of Cuba at 11 a.m., with weakening winds down to 125 mph. The storm was continuing to move west at 9 mph with a minimum central pressure of 941 millibars (27.79 inches).

Irma is currently a Category 3 storm, but is forecast to restrengthen back to Category 4 once it moves away from Cuba. The Hurricane Center says Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane as it approaches Florida.

On the forecast track, the core of Irma will continue to move near or over the north coast of Cuba later today, and will reach the Florida Keys early Sunday morning. The hurricane is expected to move along or near the southwest coast of Florida by Sunday afternoon.

Irma is expected to produce very heavy rain and inland flooding. Total rain accumulations of 10 to 20 inches, with isolated amounts of between 20 and 25 inches, are expected over the Florida Keys, the Florida peninsula and southeast Georgia from Saturday through Monday. Significant river flooding is possible in these areas.

Early next week Irma will also bring periods of heavy rain to much of the southeast United States, where an average of 2 to 6 inches is forecast, with isolated higher amounts, from North and South Carolina to Tennessee and eastern Alabama. This includes some mountainous areas which are more prone to flash flooding

Residents throughout the southeast states should remain aware of the flood threat and stay tuned to forecasts and warnings.

Following are the current watches and warnings in effect before Irma makes its turn and heads toward Florida:

Storm Surge Warning

—Volusia/Brevard County line southward around the Florida peninsula to the Suwanee River

—Florida Keys

—Tampa Bay

Storm Surge Watch

—North of the Volusia/Brevard County Line to the Isle of Palms, South Carolina

—North of the Suwanee River to Ochlockonee River

Hurricane Warning

—Fernandina Beach southward around the Florida peninsula to the Aucilla River

—Florida Keys

—Lake Okeechobee

—Florida Bay

—Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Matanzas, Havana

—Andros Island, Bimini, Grand Bahama

Hurricane Watch

—North of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach

—West of the Aucilla River to Indian Pass

—Cuban provinces of Holguin, Las Tunas

Tropical Storm Warning

—Cuban provinces of Holguin, Las Tunas

Tropical Storm Watch

—North of Edisto Beach to South Santee River

—West of Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line

8 a.m. Update

The eye of Hurricane Irma was located by a reconnaissance plane and Cuban radars near latitude 22.6 North, longitude 79.5 West. Hurricane Irma is moving toward the west near 12 mph, along the north coast of Cuba.

The National Hurricane Center reported in its 8 a.m. advisory that the northwest motion is expected to begin later today with a turn toward the north-northwest tonight or on Sunday.

On the forecast track, the core of Irma will continue to move near or over the north coast of Cuba this morning, and will reach the Florida Keys on Sunday morning. The hurricane is expected to be near the southwest coast of Florida by Sunday afternoon.

There has been no change in the forecast for Northwest Florida. The Emerald Coast remains in line to experience tropical-storm-force winds and potentially heavy rain Monday into Tuesday. Apalachicola remains the highest point north in the Hurricane Watch area along the Gulf Coast after Irma arrives on the west side of Florida.

The interaction with the terrain of Cuba has weakened the hurricane a little. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 130 mph with higher gusts, but Irma remains a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Irma is forecast to restrengthen once it moves away from Cuba, and Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane as it approaches Florida.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.

The minimum central pressure reported by a reconnaissance plane was 937 millibars (27.67 inches).

Current watches and warnings in effect:

Storm Surge Warning

—Volusia/Brevard County Line southward around the Florida peninsula to Chassahowitzka

—Florida Keys

—Tampa Bay

Storm Surge Watch

—North of the Volusia/Brevard County Line to the Flagler/Volusia County line

—North of Chassahowitzka to Suwannee River

Hurricane Warning

—Flagler/Volusia County Line southward around the Florida peninsula to Chassahowitzka

—Florida Keys

—Lake Okeechobee

—Florida Bay

—Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Matanzas

—Northwestern Bahamas

Hurricane Watch

—North of the Flagler/Volusia County Line to Fernandina Beach

—North and west of Chassahowitzka to Indian Pass

—Cuban provinces of Holguin and Las Tunas

Tropical Storm Warning

—Cuban provinces of Holguin, Las Tunas, La Habana, Ciudad de la Habana

Tropical Storm Watch

—North of Fernandina Beach to Altamaha Sound

6 a.m. Update

With a more pronounced move westward overnight, Hurricane Irma is now definitively forecast to make landfall along the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Exactly where, however, is still at question as the Category 4 storm continues to drill Cuba after making landfall along that country's north coast as a Category 5 storm late Friday night.

According to the 5 a.m. report from the National Hurricane Center, in Florida, hurricane warnings now extend as far north as the Flagler/Volusia County line on the Atlantic side, and up to Citrus County on the Gulf side. Included in the hurricane warnings are the Florida Keys, Naples, Fort Myers, the Tampa/St. Petersburg metro area, Miami and West Palm Beach.

As for Northwest Florida, the Emerald Coast has come into play for experiencing tropical-storm-force winds and potentially heavy rain Monday into Tuesday.

Irma is currently holding maximum sustained winds of 155 mph after reaching 160 mph and Category 5 status at landfall with Cuba overnight. It was positioned 245 miles south-southeast of Miami at 5 a.m.

The Hurricane Center is now reporting that the eastern Panhandle will receive 3 to 6 inches and 8 inches in isolated areas as Irma tracks along Florida's west coast after landfall.

Irma is now forecast to hug the Gulf Coast before breaking totally onto land in the Big Bend area. At that point, according to the latest forecast, Irma should have weakened to Category 1 status.

With the move overnight by Irma, Apalachicola is now included within the storm's cone of uncertainty and is within the current Hurricane Watch area.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.

In the 5 a.m. report, the Hurricane Center extended Hurricane and Storm Surge warnings northward along the Florida West coast from Anclote River to Chassahowitzka.

The Hurricane Warning is extended northward along the Florida east coast to the Flagler/Volusia County Line.

A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued north of Fernandina Beach to Altamaha Sound, Georgia.

It was noted that additional watches and warnings may be required for portions of the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina, as well as portions of the Florida Gulf Coast later today.

Irma is expected to produce very heavy rain and inland flooding. Total rain accumulations of 8 to 15 inches, with isolated amounts of 20 inches, are expected over the Florida Keys and much of the Florida peninsula through Tuesday night.

The Hurricane Center noted that Irma will likely bring periods of heavy rain to much of the Florida Panhandle, Georgia, South Carolina and western North Carolina early next week, including some mountainous areas which are more prone to flash flooding. All areas seeing heavy rainfall from Irma will experience a risk of flooding and flash flooding.

The Hurricane Center stated that track guidance is in good agreement that Irma should continue west-northwestward for the next 12 to 24 hours, followed by a turn toward the north-northwest that would take the center parallel to the west coast of the Florida peninsula.

It should be noted, according to the 5 a.m. report, that because of the hurricane's angle of approach to the west coast of Florida, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint exactly where the center might move onshore.

To date, it has been confirmed that the death toll in the Caribbean from Irma included 11 on St. Martin and St. Barts, four in the U.S. Virgin Islands, four in the British Virgin Islands and one each on Anguilla and Barbuda.