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Hurricane Maria is going from strength to strength

SHE'S COMING: Hurricane Maria (Photo credit: National Hurricane Centre)

HURRICANE MARIA is forecast to rapidly strengthen over the next two days as it takes aim at Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma just days ago, CNN reports.

"Significant strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Maria is expected to become a dangerous major hurricane before it moves through the Leeward Islands," according to the National Hurricane Centre's latest update.

In its 5 a.m. update, the hurricane center placed Maria about 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of Martinique and about 130 miles (215 east-southeast) of Dominica.

The storm is currently a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 90 mph, and is forecast to continue moving toward the eastern Caribbean at 13 mph.

"Maria is likely to be at category 3 or 4 intensity by the time it moves into the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea," the centre said in its forecast.

Maria is one of three storms churning in the Atlantic Ocean, but it poses the most danger to the Caribbean.

According to the NHC, "On the forecast track, the centre of Maria will move across the Leeward Islands late today (Monday) and tonight and then over the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea Tuesday and Tuesday night."

Maria has prompted a hurricane warning for Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat, and a tropical storm warning for Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Lucia.

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