Hurricane Irma has been ominously moving westward across the Atlantic Ocean while the world’s eyes were trained on the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, and while the cleanup continues in and around Houston, Irma now poses a risk that – terrifyingly – may yet be worse.

It is already a more intense storm than Harvey ever was. On Tuesday morning (Eastern time), measurements taken from an aircraft flying through the storm indicated that Irma was now a devastating Category 5 hurricane with sustained wind speeds approaching 175mph – and over the next few hours this increased to 185mph, making it one of the strongest hurricanes of all time by wind speed. While this intensity may not be sustainable for long, it looks certain to remain a very powerful storm for the rest of this week – and there is an increasingly strong consensus that it will end up hitting Florida at the weekend, although nobody knows exactly when, where, or with how much strength it will do so.

In any case, the signs are ominous, and while it seems almost insulting to think about the impact on sports from such a storm, fans following the NFL or NCAA from well away from Irma should get ready for rescheduled or cancelled games…

Start slideshow

Read more from David Howell