Hurricane Matthew has quickly developed into a monster Category 4 hurricane – packing maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour as it makes its way through the Caribbean.

That makes the storm the strongest of the 2016 season – and a potentially serious threat to the American mainland.

According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, the storm’s center of circulation was located 465 miles southwest of Kingston, Jamaica as of 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday.  It was moving west-southwest at nine miles per hour.  Hurricane-force winds extend roughly thirty-five miles from the center of the storm, while tropical-storm-force winds extend outward for roughly 195 miles.

As previously forecast, Matthew is slowing in anticipation of making a major turn to the north over the weekend – although it’s still too early to tell what sort of impact the system could have on the east coast of the United States.

“Some additional strengthening is possible, forecasters warned. “Matthew is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through Sunday.”

First, here is Matthew’s most recent five-day forecast window …

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(Via NOAA)

Now, here is its most recent forecast track …

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(Via NOAA)

We will continue to monitor Matthew’s progress as it moves through Jamaica and Cuba towards the United States.  Hopefully by Sunday we will have some idea as to whether it will threaten the east coast or drift harmlessly out to sea.

Stay tuned …

(Banner image via iStock)