Cruise ships have been diverted and flights cancelled across parts of the Caribbean as Hurricane Earl swept through the region with winds of up to 135mph.

Homes were damaged on several islands, including Antigua and Barbuda, as the hurricane brought heavy rain and floods.

The centre of the storm was expected to move away from the Virgin Islands last night and pass to the east of the Turks and Caicos tonight (Tuesday).

The US-based National Hurricane Centre warned residents in US coastal regions from North Carolina to Maine to watch the storm’s path.

Forecasters warned that Earl is a major hurricane and could cause “catastrophic” damage if it hits land.

Earl is being closely followed by Tropical Storm Fiona, moving east of the Leeward Isles.

Image: NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response