Hurricane Earl strengthened to a Category 2 storm on a track toward islands in the eastern Caribbean on Sunday, according to the the US National Hurricane Center.
Earl had sustained winds of 160kmh by late Sunday, when it was about 215km east of St Martin and moving west-northwest, Reuters reports.
Warnings advising of high winds and other hurricane conditions within 24 hours went up on tourist islands, including Antigua, St Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and St. Maarten.
The center advised that Earl was expected to become a major hurricane by Monday night.
Forecasts showed Earl keeping to its current path before accelerating northward off the US east coast later in the week, far from the oil-producing Gulf Coast region.