Hurricane Maria has strengthened to a “potentially catastrophic” category five storm, US forecasters say, as it bears down on islands in the Caribbean.The island of Dominica is one of the first in its path, facing sustained winds of 260km/h (160mph).
Maria is moving roughly along the same track as Irma, the hurricane that devastated the region this month.
Martinique declared a maximum-level alert while another French island, Guadeloupe, ordered evacuations.
Hurricane warnings are also in place for:
Warnings are also in effect for St Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat and St Lucia while hurricane watches are in place for St Martin, Saba, St Eustatius and Anguilla.
Some of these islands are still recovering after being hit by Hurricane Irma – another category five hurricane which left at least 37 people dead and caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage.