Caribbean islands brace for powerful storm, Hurricane Irma.

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

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that the  hurricane has sustained winds of up to 215km/h (130mph) and is likely to strengthen in the next 48 hours.

States of emergency were declared in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and all of Florida.However the NHC warned that it was too early to forecast Irma’s exact path or effects on the continental US.

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.