Maria intensifies into Category 4 hurricane

This Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, GOES East satellite image provided by NASA taken at 7:45 p.m EDT, shows Hurricane Maria as it approaches the Lesser Antilles. Maria swiftly grew into a hurricane Sunday, and forecasters said it was expected to become much stronger over the coming hours following a path that would take it near many of the islands wrecked by Hurricane Irma and then on toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. (NASA via AP)

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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