Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the British and US Virgin Islands brace for impact less than two weeks after Irma hammered the region

Another powerful storm was bearing down on a string of battered Caribbean islands on Sunday, with forecasters saying that Maria had strengthened into a hurricane and would intensify before hitting the Leeward Islands on Monday night.

Maria was about 275 miles (445km) east-southeast of the Leeward island of Dominica with maximum sustained winds of 75mph (100km/h) at 4pm (8pm GMT), the US National Hurricane Center said.

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