September 19, 2017 / 6:04 AM / 10 months ago

Category 4 hurricane Maria may retain strength en route to Virgin Islands - NHC

(Reuters) - Hurricane Maria, now at category 4 strength after moving over the Caribbean island of Dominica, is likely to retain its intensity as it barrels toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Tuesday.

The hurricane is about 235 miles (380 km) southeast of St. Croix with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour (250 km per hour), the NHC said. It made landfall in Dominica as a Category 5 storm on Monday night.

While the intensity of the hurricane may fluctuate over the next day or two, Maria is expected to remain a category 4 or 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the Miami-based weather forecaster said.

Reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill

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