Here are all the areas in Hurricane Irma's path and when the storm could arrive in Florida

Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded, started slamming the southeastern Caribbean islands early Wednesday with devastating winds, heavy rains, and catastrophic storm surges.

As of Saturday morning, the Category 3 storm's eye was 175 miles southeast of Key West, Florida with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph. The National Hurricane Center said the hurricane was cruising west at 9 mph.

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Hurricane Irma's wrath from above
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Hurricane Irma's wrath from above
Hurricane Irma (L) and Hurricane Jose are pictured in the Atlantic Ocean in this September 7, 2017 NOAA satellite handout photo. NOAA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma on Maho beach, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma, rampaging across the Caribbean, has produced sustained winds at 295 kilometres per hour (183 miles per hour) for more than 33 hours, making it the longest-lasting, top-intensity cyclone ever recorded, France's weather service said on September 7. / AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY / GERBEN VAN ES / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
CARIBBEAN SEA - SEPTEMBER 7: In this NOAA handout image, NOAA's GOES satellite shows Hurricane Irma as it moves towards the Florida Coast in the Caribbean Sea taken at 20:00 UTC on September 07, 2017. The state of Florida is in the track of where the hurricane may make landfall. (Photo by NOAA GOES Project via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma, rampaging across the Caribbean, has produced sustained winds at 295 kilometres per hour (183 miles per hour) for more than 33 hours, making it the longest-lasting, top-intensity cyclone ever recorded, France's weather service said on September 7. / AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY AND AFP PHOTO / GERBEN VAN ES / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma, rampaging across the Caribbean, has produced sustained winds at 295 kilometres per hour (183 miles per hour) for more than 33 hours, making it the longest-lasting, top-intensity cyclone ever recorded, France's weather service said on September 7. / AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY AND AFP PHOTO / GERBEN VAN ES / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
CARIBBEAN SEA - SEPTEMBER 7: In this NOAA handout image, NOAA's GOES satellite shows Hurricane Irma as it moves towards the Florida Coast in the Caribbean Sea taken at 16:15 UTC on September 07, 2017. Irma is a category 5 hurricane and will bring life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall hazards to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The state of Florida is in the track of where the hurricane may make landfall. (Photo by NOAA GOES Project via Getty Images)
CARIBBEAN - AUGUST 25: In this NOAA handout image, NOAA's GOES satellite shows Hurricane Irma as it makes its way across the Atlantic Ocean in to the Caribbean -- a category 5 storm with winds as high as 185 miles per hour -- today at about 3:15 pm (eastern), September 6, 2017. (Photo by NASA/NOAA GOES Project via Getty Images)
An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma, rampaging across the Caribbean, has produced sustained winds at 295 kilometres per hour (183 miles per hour) for more than 33 hours, making it the longest-lasting, top-intensity cyclone ever recorded, France's weather service said on September 7. / AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY / GERBEN VAN ES / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma, rampaging across the Caribbean, has produced sustained winds at 295 kilometres per hour (183 miles per hour) for more than 33 hours, making it the longest-lasting, top-intensity cyclone ever recorded, France's weather service said on September 7. / AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY / GERBEN VAN ES / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma, on the Princess Juliana International Airport and Simpson Bay Beach, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma, rampaging across the Caribbean, has produced sustained winds at 295 kilometres per hour (183 miles per hour) for more than 33 hours, making it the longest-lasting, top-intensity cyclone ever recorded, France's weather service said on September 7. / AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY / GERBEN VAN ES / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS / The erroneous mention appearing in the metadata of this photo by GERBEN VAN ES has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [SIMPSON BAY BEACH] instead of [MAHO BEACH. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention from all your online services and delete it from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma in Philipsburg, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma sowed a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean on Wednesday, reducing to rubble the tropical islands of Barbuda and St Martin. / AFP PHOTO / ANP / Gerben van Es / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - NO ARCHIVES - NO SALE- DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma, rampaging across the Caribbean, has produced sustained winds at 295 kilometres per hour (183 miles per hour) for more than 33 hours, making it the longest-lasting, top-intensity cyclone ever recorded, France's weather service said on September 7. / AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY / GERBEN VAN ES / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma in Philipsburg, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma sowed a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean on Wednesday, reducing to rubble the tropical islands of Barbuda and St Martin. / AFP PHOTO / ANP / Gerben van Es / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - NO ARCHIVES - NO SALE- DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma in Philipsburg, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma sowed a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean on Wednesday, reducing to rubble the tropical islands of Barbuda and St Martin. / AFP PHOTO / ANP / Gerben van Es / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - NO ARCHIVES - NO SALE- DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
An aerial photography taken and released by the Dutch department of Defense on September 6, 2017 shows the damage of Hurricane Irma in Philipsburg, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Hurricane Irma sowed a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean on Wednesday, reducing to rubble the tropical islands of Barbuda and St Martin. / AFP PHOTO / ANP / Gerben VAN ES / Netherlands OUT / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / DUTCH DEFENSE MINISTRY/GERBEN VAN ES' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - NO ARCHIVES - NO SALE- DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo credit should read GERBEN VAN ES/AFP/Getty Images)
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The NHC reports that Irma is pounding Cuba. Its center is expected to turn northwest and wind up near the Florida Keys by Sunday morning, though the state is already seeing strong winds.

"The threat of catastrophic storm surge flooding is highest along the southwest coast of Florida, where 10 to 15 feet of inundation above ground level is expected," the NHC wrote on Saturday. "This is a life-threatening situation and everyone in these areas should immediately follow any evacuation instructions from local officials."

National Hurricane Center

What's next

The National Weather Service's latest forecast puts the entire state of Florida in the storm's crosshairs, with Irma most likely making landfall on Sunday morning. The storm is expected to travel up the western side of the peninsula on Sunday night and Monday, then head for Georgia and Alabama on Tuesday.

Hurricane warnings are in effect around much of the Florida coast, from Fernandina Beach south around the peninsula to the Aucilla River. The Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee, Florida Bay, and parts of Cuba and the Bahamas are also under hurricane warnings. 

Storm-surge warnings are in effect from the Volusia/Brevard County line south around the peninsula to the Suwanee River, as well as in the Florida Keys and Tampa Bay.

hurricane watch is in place along parts of Florida's coasts, north of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach, and west of the Aucilla River to Indian Pass. The Cuban provinces of Holguin and Las Tunas are also still under watch. 

Life-threatening winds

National Hurricane Center

While Hurricane Harvey brought devastating floods late last month, Irma's biggest threat is its strong winds and storm surge.

Irma is now a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, which measures a hurricane's strength based on its wind speeds. The scale goes up to 5, but if it had been extended to classify Irma's highest sustained wind speeds of 185 mph, the storm could have been considered Category 6 at one point, though that's not an official designation.

Part of what makes this storm so dangerous is its sheer size — hurricane-force winds extend up to 70 miles from Irma's center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 195 miles, according to the NHC.

Florida's peninsula is only about 140 miles across at its widest, so Irma could engulf the entire state with its powerful winds.

Dangerous flooding

Irma's storm surge — the quick rise in water caused by a hurricane's strong winds — and wave height could be devastating.

The National Hurricane Center suggests that if Irma hits Florida at high tide, water levels there could rise 10 to 15 feet above ground from Cape Sable to Captiva. Parts of the Bahamas may see water levels rise 20 feet above a typical high tide, though forecasts differ greatly among regions.

The NHC expects between 10 and 20 inches of rain in the Florida Keys and much of the state's peninsula, with isolated areas getting up to 25. Cuba could see 10 to 15 inches, with some areas getting up to 20.

The rains could cause "life-threatening" flash flooding and mudslides, the NHC says.

Threats to the US mainland

NOAA

The NHC is forecasting Irma will make landfall in Florida as a catastrophic hurricane on Sunday, and forecasters advise residents to heed the advice of local officials and get ready if they are in the projected path of the storm. As of Saturday morning, nearly 7 million people have been ordered to evacuate. 

The Florida Keys and the southern tip of the state are the most likely to see the worst effects of the storm before Irma starts to weaken slowly after making landfall.

Forecasters aren't positive yet how Irma will move up the East Coast, though the models are indicating the storm could hit Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and parts of South Carolina and Kentucky.

"Since Irma is a large hurricane, [forecast] users are reminded to not focus on the exact forecast track since tropical-storm and hurricane-force winds and life-threatening storm surge extend far from the center," Daniel Brown, a senior hurricane specialist at the NHC, wrote on Tuesday.

"Everyone in hurricane-prone areas should ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place."

SEE ALSO: Hurricane Irma is now a Category 5 storm and could make landfall in Florida

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