Hurricane Irma grows into Category 4 storm

Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico

Hurricane Irma grew into a powerful Category 4 storm Monday as it approached the northeastern Caribbean and was forecast to begin buffeting the region today.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 140 mph late Monday, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center said additional strengthening was expected.

Irma was centered 410 miles east of the Leeward Islands and moving west at 13 mph.

Emergency officials warned that the storm could dump up to 10 inches of rain, unleash landslides and dangerous flash floods and generate waves of up to 23 feet as the storm drew closer.

U.S. residents were urged to monitor the storm’s progress in case it should turn northward toward Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas.

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