Hurricane Irma strengthens to Category 5.

Deadly Hurricane Irma has strengthened to a Category 5 storm as it heads toward the northeast Caribbean on a path to the U.S. mainland.

States of emergency were declared in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and all of Florida.

The U.S. National Weather Service said in an advisory on Monday: “Preparations should be rushed to completion as tropical storm-force winds are expected to arrive in the hurricane warning area by late Tuesday.”

Authorities warned that the storm could dump up to 25 centimetres of rain, cause landslides and flash floods and generate waves of up to 7 metres. Government officials began evacuations in certain islands.