TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) Hurricane Irma’s winds are forecast to reach up to 185 miles (280 kilometers) per hour (about 260 kilometers per second) Thursday, as it heads toward the Dominican Republic.
The U.S. Navy is sending an aircraft carrier and two warships to the area.
Irma’s eye is forecast to cross the U.N.-designated minimum threshold and land at the southernmost tip of Haiti.
It could be the most powerful storm to hit the Caribbean region in decades.
A Category 4 hurricane could be near Haiti.
There are still no confirmed fatalities and there are no reports of damage or injuries.
The hurricane’s path is clear from the coast of Cuba, where it was forecast to make landfall.
The Caribbean has been under a hurricane watch for several days, but Irma’s track was already clear enough for some people to travel there.
Tropical Storm Matthew has a maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (200 kph) and a maximum sea-level rise of 12 feet (3 meters).
Tropical Storm Isaac is a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained wind speeds of 110 mph (205 kph).
The storm was expected to pass through the Bahamas, but it’s unclear if it will make landfall there.
The storm is moving toward the west coast of Africa and will weaken as it moves toward the United States.
It’s the strongest hurricane to pass over Florida in more than 60 years.
Irma is headed for Florida.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for portions of Florida and parts of Georgia, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee, as well as the southeastern United States from Texas to Alabama.
A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect from the southern tip of Cuba to the Dominican Caribbean coast.
The forecast is that Irma will move north-northwest over the Florida Keys on Thursday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The center said the storm would reach Florida by mid-morning Thursday, with winds of 90 mph (150 kph), a storm surge of 8 feet (2 meters) and gusts of 50 mph (110 kph.
The National Hurricane Centre issued a hurricane warning for Puerto Rico, the U-S.
Virgin Islands, the Dominican Estates and the northern and eastern portions of Puerto Rico.
Irma will make its closest approach to Florida Thursday morning.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement tweeted that there are about 400 homes and businesses in the area that are in danger of being swept away by Irma.
A number of people have been rescued from their homes, the agency said.
The state of Florida issued a temporary emergency for people in Irma’s path.
The Department of Transportation tweeted that its emergency management system is operating at full capacity and that its crews are working around the clock to restore the roads and bridges in Florida.
The agency has declared a disaster area and posted a state of emergency for the state.
A large portion of Florida is under mandatory evacuation orders, but officials have said they expect the threat to ease by the weekend.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency tweeted that it is coordinating with Florida’s governor’s office to begin the process of determining the extent of the storm’s impacts and how to prepare.
Rick Scott is in Florida for a meeting with officials from the state’s largest fire departments and fire districts to prepare for Irma.
Scott is scheduled to visit Fort Myers, a resort town on the Gulf of Mexico, later in the day.