Hurricane Maria Strengthens To Category 4 As It Bears Down Caribbean

This Sept. 14, 2017 photo provided by Guillermo Houwer on Saturday, Sept. 16, shows storm damage to the Biras Creek Resort in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. (Guillermo Houwer via AP)
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September 18, 2017 11:32 a.m.

MIAMI (AP) — Hurricane Maria has intensified into a dangerous Category 4 storm as it bears down on the Caribbean.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Monday the storm is growing in strength as it approaches land. The eye of the storm is expected to pass near the island of Dominica on Monday evening.

The center called the storm “extremely dangerous,” with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (215 kph).

At 5 p.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 45 miles (70 kilometers) east-southeast of Dominica.

A Hurricane warning has been issued for Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques.

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