Hurricane Irma moves away from Barbuda -- eyes Florida: NHC
A member of the Emergency Operations Committee (COE) monitors the trajectory of Hurricane Irma in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas

The eye of the potentially catastrophic Category 5 hurricane Irma has moved away from Barbuda and is heading towards St. Martin, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.

Hurricane Irma is about 145 miles (235 km) east of St. Croix with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph (295 km/h), the NHC said.

The core of Irma is likely to move over portions of the northern Leeward Islands, and move near or over portions of the northern Virgin Islands on Wednesday, it said.

(Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely)