In an intermediate advisory issued at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, the NHC reported that tropical storm conditions were spreading across portions of the Lesser Antilles as Matthew continues on a westerly track at about 20 mph.
The storm is 25 miles off St. Lucia, with maximum sustained winds at 2:00 p.m. of 60 mph (95 kilometers/hour), with a minimum central pressure of 1008 mb (29.77 inches). Matthew should move away from the Windward Islands through this evening, taking it over the eastern and central Caribbean Sea by Friday.
The westward movement over the next few days will take the tropical storm over some very warm ocean waters, and if a lot of wind shear is not encountered the storm will strengthen. T.S. Matthew is expected to turn into a major hurricane by Friday.
Matthew is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of four to eight inches across the Windward Islands and southern portions of the Leeward Islands through Thursday. The heavy rains may produce flash flooding and mudslides.
The NHC is forecasting that the present path of the storm will bring it close to Jamaica as a Category 2 hurricane with winds of over 100 mph by Monday.
Weather models show Matthew taking a northward or northwestward turn late this weekend, raising the possibility that the Gulf coast and the east coast of the U.S. may be potential targets next week. The next update from the NHC will be issued at 8:00 p.m. Digital Journal will keep you posted on Matthew’s movements.