Hurricane Maria now a top Category 5 storm: US Hurricane Center

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(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.

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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.

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"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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