MIAMI – Hurricane Matthew strengthened on Friday to a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 220 kph (140 mph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory.
As of 2100 GMT, the hurricane was located 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Punta Gallinas, Colombia, and 750 kilometers (465 miles) southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.
The storm was moving toward the west-southwest at 15 kph (9 mph).
NHC forecasters said they expect Matthew to begin a turn toward the north-northwest Saturday night, with a further shift toward the northwest the next morning.
The Jamaican government issued a hurricane watch for the entire island, while Haitian authorities issued a tropical storm watch for the area from the southern border with the Dominican Republic to Port-au-Prince.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Colombia-Venezuela border region to Riohacha, the Miami-based NHC said.
Hurricane Matthew’s center will pass north of Colombia’s Guajira peninsula Friday night and is expected to be near Jamaica on Sunday.
The storm could drop as much as 25 inches (63 centimeters) of rain in parts of Jamaica and Haiti, the NHC said.
On the current projected path, Matthew also poses a threat to Cuba.