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Maria now a hurricane following Irma’s path

Hurricane Maria is following Irma’s path.
(National Hurricane Center)

Tropical Storm Maria is now a hurricane and is forecast to strengthen and brush by some islands that were recently wrecked by Hurricane Irma.

The National Hurricane Center said Sunday that the storm has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph). It is located about 140 miles east northeast of Barbados and heading west-northwest at 15 mph (24 kph). A slower west-northwest motion is expected over the next couple of days.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat.

Maria is expected to strengthen and be near major hurricane intensity when it moves across the Leeward Islands late Monday.

The storm could also affect the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by mid-week as a dangerous major hurricane.

FOLLOW MARIA’S PATH HERE

Maria, which formed Saturday¬†in the western Atlantic Ocean, wasn’t forecast to reach hurricane until late Monday.