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Hurricane Maria strengthens to Category 5, bearing down on Puerto Rico

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Posted at 8:08 PM, Sep 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-18 20:08:07-04

Forecasters say Hurricane Maria has become a Category 5 storm as the eye nears Dominica.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Monday evening that Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter planes found that Maria had strengthened into a storm with 160 mph (260 kph) winds.

The hurricane is about 15 miles (25 kilometers) east-southeast of Dominica and moving west-northwest at 9 mph (15 kph).