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Hurricane Matthew Looms As A Category 4 Storm

Forecasters expect Hurricane Matthew to pass between Jamaica and Hispaniola before hitting parts of Cuba and the Bahamas.

It may weaken somewhat as it spins in the Caribbean, — but forecasters still say that Hurricane Matthew will likely bring winds topping 100 mph when it makes landfall. Parts of Haiti, Cuba and Jamaica are on alert, as Matthew's maximum sustained winds were measured at 140 mph Saturday afternoon.

Hurricane conditions could hit Jamaica and Haiti by Monday, with tropical storm conditions possible by late Sunday, the National Hurricane Center says. It adds that hurricane conditions could also hit eastern Cuba by Monday night.

Matthew strengthened into a category 5 storm at the end of the week before weakening somewhat Saturday; the NHC's forecasters say the storm is "expected to remain a powerful hurricane through Monday."

Citing data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft, the weather agency said that as of Saturday morning, Matthew's maximum sustained winds were near 145 mph, with higher gusts.

The hurricane center's Robbie Berg says Matthew is expected to "remain a very dangerous major hurricane" as it moves to the northwest and north across the Caribbean, through at least Monday."

Forecasters say while Matthew is expected to experience some gradual weakening over the next 24 hours, "conditions appear conducive for restrengthening once Matthew moves into the Bahamas" after the storm passes the islands of Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Cuba.

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