17:41 GMT21 January 2021
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    The Caribbean region hit by Hurricane Irma last week now must brace itself for a new storm, as Tropical Storm Maria is now following Irma's track.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Tropical Storm Maria has formed in the Atlantic Ocean and is expected to further strengthen, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Saturday.

    "Depression becomes Tropical Storm Maria… Additional strengthening is forecast," meteorologists said.

    According to the NHC, the storm is located 620 miles east southest of the Lesser Antilles, and is heading west at about 20 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour currently.

    This Sept. 6, 2017 photo provided by the Dutch Defense Ministry shows a few of the homes that remained intact in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, in St. Maarten. Irma cut a path of devastation across the northern Caribbean, leaving thousands homeless after destroying buildings and uprooting trees.
    © AP Photo / Gerben Van Es/Dutch Defense Ministry
    The NHC added that the tropical storm was expected to turn into a hurricane within two days.

    "On the forecast track, Maria is expected to approach the Leeward Islands on Monday… Additional strengthening is expected during the next 48 hours, and Maria is forecast to be a hurricane when it approaches the Leeward Islands early next week,"  the meteorologists said.

    Recently, the Caribbean region and the southeast of the United States have been hit by several hurricanes. The latest, Hurricane Irma — which caused up to 81 deaths — is considered to be one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic basin.


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    Tropical Storm, Hurricane Irma, Caribbean, US
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