September 19, 2017 / 12:21 AM / in a month

Hurricane Maria now a top Category 5 storm: U.S. Hurricane Center

(Reuters) - Hurricane Maria strengthened into a potentially catastrophic Category 5 hurricane at the top of the five-step Saffir-Simpson wind scale as it swept across the Caribbean on Monday night, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Hurricane Maria is shown in the Atlantic Ocean about 85 miles east of Martinique in this September 17, 2017 NASA handout satellite photo. NASA/Handout via REUTERS

Hurricane Maria was about 15 miles (25 km) east-southeast of Dominica, with maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour (260 km per hour), the NHC said in its latest advisory.

“Some additional strengthening is possible tonight, but some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two,” the Miami-based weather forecaster said.

Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler

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