Maria now a ‘major’ Category 3 hurricane



Hurricane Maria is expected to hit the Leeward Islands late on Monday (EPA/NASA)

MIAMI, United States (AFP) — Hurricane Maria strengthened to a “major” Category Three storm on Monday as it bore down on Caribbean islands still recovering from megastorm Irma.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Maria was packing maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour (195 kilometres per hour).

Inching closer to the Leeward Islands, Dominica and St Lucia have already announced a close down of businesses, schools and other non-essential services, while in St Kitts/Nevis, banks have advised customers that they would be closing from midday.

Hurricane warnings were issued for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Martinique, St Lucia, and the US and British Virgin Islands.


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