Update (8:09 p.m. Sept. 18): Forecasters say Hurricane Maria has become a Category 5 storm as the eye nears Dominica.
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.
At 5 p.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 45 miles east-southeast of Dominica.
A Hurricane warning has been issued for Puerto Rico, Culebra, and Vieques.