Even as the southern U.S. states of Texas and Louisiana struggle to recover from Hurricane Harvey, a powerful storm is gaining strength over the Atlantic and another may be forming in the Gulf of Mexico.
Irma has intensified into a Category 3 hurricane and appears to be heading toward the Caribbean and southeastern United States.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said Irma was picking up intensity as it sat off the west coast of Africa. By late Thursday, it was packing winds of more than 185 kilometers per hour.
Irma is expected to reach the Lesser Antilles by the middle of next week and then turn toward the U.S.
Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center is watching for an area of low pressure to develop over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. In its forecast Thursday, the center said that if the system develops, it could bring more rainfall to the soaked regions of Texas and Louisiana.