Havana, Sep 8.- Hurricane Irma has struck Cuba's northeastern seas since early today, causing coastal flooding, especially along the northern coast of Guantanamo and Holguin.
According to the most recent report from the Institute of Meteorology (6:00 local time), the outer bands of this event have increased rainfall from Guantanamo to Camagüey provinces, mainly to areas of the northern coast of those territories.
Irma has slightly weakened during the last few hours, and decreased its maximum sustained winds to 250 kilometers per hour (km/h), but continues to be a high-intensity system, now at the upper limit of a Category 4 hurricane, close to Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale.
At 6:00 am, Irma's center was estimated at 21.8 degrees north latitude and 74.0 degrees west longitude, about 168 kilometers north of Punta Maisi, in Guantanamo, and 180 kilometers east of Punta Lucrecia, in Holguin.
Its minimum pressure has risen to 925 hectoPascal and maintains a west northwest course at 26 kph.
In the next 12 to 24 hours, Irma will continue as an intense hurricane, moving with similar course and decreasing its speed as it passes the Old Bahamas Channel, but near the north coastal municipalities of the Cuban central and eastern regions. (Prensa Latina)