Hurricane Matthew grows to Category Two in Caribbean

NOAA-NASA satellite photo shows storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean on September 28, 2016 as Tropical Storm Matthew formed (AFP Photo/)

Miami (AFP) - Hurricane Matthew strengthened to a Category Two storm as it churned in the southeast Caribbean, with a turn toward Jamaica expected by Sunday, US weather forecasters said.

The hurricane early Friday was packing winds near 105 miles per hour (165 kilometers per hour) with higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center said.

That makes Matthew a Category Two storm on a scale of one to five, with five being the strongest.

"Additional strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Matthew could become a major hurricane later today or tonight," said the NHC.

A tropical storm watch has been issued for Aruba and parts of the Colombian and Venezuelan borders, where two to four inches (five to 10 centimeters) of rain are expected through Saturday.

Matthew could generate life-threatening swells and rip currents affecting the coasts of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Venezuela and Colombia in the coming days, the hurricane center said.

At 1200 GMT, Matthew was about 130 miles northeast of Punta Gallinas, Colombia and 520 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. It was moving to the west at 14 miles per hour.

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