It forecasted Maria to follow a path similar to Hurricane Irma, which cut a trail of destruction across the northern Caribbean earlier this month. He told people with wooden or flimsy homes to find shelter at a different location.
At 8 a.m. Monday, the National Hurricane Center said Maria had become a Category 2 storm. The National Hurricane Center declared Maria a major hurricane, defined as a Category 3 storm or above, earlier Monday. "Maria is likely to affect Puerto Rico as an extremely risky major hurricane", the agency said. The US island of Puerto Rico appears to be directly in Maria's path, with the Virgin Islands also projected to be near the storm's eye.
The hurricane downgraded to a category 4 as it headed toward the French archipelago of Guadeloupe, on lockdown since midday Monday.
"We have an extremely weak infrastructure that has already been hit by one storm", he said.
Maria is expected to push to the west-northwest and skirt just north of Hispaniola and approach the Turks and Caicos Islands by Friday.
The Dominican Republic, whose east coast was battered by Irma, ordered citizens in part of the north to evacuate ahead of Maria's arrival.
Another hurricane, Jose, is also active in the Atlantic and has triggered tropical storm warnings for the northeastern United States.
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The National Hurricane Center has a page updating every few hours with the latest watches and warnings for Maria. In a series of posts on social media, Skerrit relayed his own alarming experience of the devastating storm.
Ms Patel said British troops, police and aid experts were "working relentlessly" to help the victims of Hurricane Irma.
Reports from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds are near 160 miles per hour (260 km/h) with higher gusts. 1,200 citizens fled from Saint Martin and Saint Thomas to Puerto Rico and more than 50 patients have been airlifted to Puerto Rican hospitals, according to The New York Times.
"Take this event seriously", Gov. Kenneth Mapp of the US Virgin Islands said at a press conference Sunday. "You will not survive".
Nearly 15inches of rain is predicted to fall as Maria storms across the Caribbean, with "isolated maximum amounts of 20in" expected to deluge the British Virgin Islands.
Central and southern Leeward Islands - 10 to 15 inches, isolated 20 inches. Some team members are from the same team that recently returned on Saturday from Puerto Rico.
This hurricane season in the Atlantic has seen several major storms. There have been 13 named storms so far - the average by September 18 is 7.6. These islands can expect 6 to 9 feet of storm surge, which is often the biggest threat to life and property from a hurricane. Maria's winds were measured to be as fast as 260 km/h.