By Rachel Lewis
Updated: September 18, 2017 12:53 PM ET

Hurricane Maria is rapidly gathering strength as it approaches several Caribbean islands that are only just beginning to recover from Hurricane Irma.

Maria was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane on Monday, with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour. The storm is currently about 60 miles east of Martinique, moving west-northwest at 10 miles per hour.

Forecasters are warning it will strike the British and U.S. Virgin Islands as well as Puerto Rico as an “extremely dangerous major hurricane.” A hurricane warning is currently in effect for several islands in the Caribbean, while Puerto Rico is under a hurricane watch.

Officials are encouraging all residents in Hurricane Maria’s path to take whatever precautions may be necessary, as the storm is likely to keep growing stronger before it makes landfall.

Hurricane Maria comes just days after Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean and Florida, leaving at least 26 people dead, hundreds homeless and thousands without power.

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