Forecasters say Hurricane Dennis has regained major hurricane status as it moves across the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico toward the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Officials upgraded Dennis to a Category 3 storm Saturday, meaning it has winds of from 178 to 209 kilometers per hour.

Dennis is expected to make landfall sometime Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents as far west as Louisiana were urged to evacuate. Off-shore oil rigs in the region also were evacuated.

Satellite image of Hurricane Dennis
Dennis skirted the Florida Keys Saturday, toppling trees and flooding streets as it brushed the area with high winds and driving rains. Thousands of residents are without power.

On Friday, the hurricane sliced through Cuba, where widespread power outages were reported. Ten people were reported killed, while 10 others died in Haiti due to the severe weather.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.