• Reuters

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Hurricane Irma strengthened into a highly dangerous Category 5 storm on Tuesday as it barreled toward the Caribbean and the southern United States, threatening deadly winds, storm surges and flooding, and Texas and Louisiana still reeled from devastating Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane warnings were in effect for much of the Leeward Islands, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico ahead of the storm packed winds of up to 280 kph (175 mph) on Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

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PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)