Maria is expected to become a dangerous major hurricane as it nears the leeward islands in the Caribbean.

The category one hurricane will rapidly strengthen over the next 48 hours and will hit the islands late on Monday according to the US national hurricane center.

It is also moving roughly along the same path as Irma, the hurricane that devastated the region this month.

Hurricane warnings have been issued for Guadeloupe, Dominica, st Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat and Martinique.