Hurricane watches were posted for Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Martin, Guadeloupe and the British Virgin Islands.
The US National Hurricane Centre said the centre of the storm could near that region late tomorrow.
It said islands farther north, including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, should monitor the progress of the storm.
Antigua’s prime minister, Gaston Browne, urged people to take preventative measures in case the storm should hit, including cleaning drains and removing objects that could be sent airborne by high winds.
“The passage of a hurricane is not a matter to be taken lightly, but we must not panic,” Browne said in a statement.
The Antigua and Barbuda weather service said Irma was expected to bring heavy rains, rough surf and high winds to islands along the northern edge of the Antilles.
The US hurricane centre said Irma had maximum sustained winds of 185 kph yesterday. It was centred about 1,275 kilometres east of the Leeward Islands and moving westward at 22 kph.
Source: Newsday http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,248581.html