WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 (UPI) — Hurricane Matthew was downgraded to a category 4 hurricane after briefly strengthening while traveling through the Caribbean late Friday night.
Matthew was briefly upgraded to a category 5 before weakening to a strong category 4 with 155 mile per hour winds by 5 a.m. Saturday, FOX 13 reported.
The storm was spotted 420 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, and the National Hurricane Center expects it to make a turn towards the west-northwest on Saturday.
Matthew’s current tracks range from making initial land fall on the Atlantic coast of the United States to possibly remaining a few hundred miles off shore, according to AccuWeather.
“If Matthew moves swiftly, it has a greater chance of causing significant impact from rain, wind and flooding along much of the Atlantic coast,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said. “On the other hand, if Matthew’s forward speed slows, it could still have significant impact on the Atlantic coast, but in a much smaller area, when compared to a fast-moving hurricane.”
Prior to reaching the Atlantic coast, the storm must pass over Cuba where it will likely weaken but could regain strength as it pulls away from the island on its way north.
If Matthew remains off the coast off the Eastern United States impacts would be minimal despite a period of rough surf, strong rip currents, beach erosion and dangerous seas that shift northward.
Matthew’s path will become more apparent after it emerges from Cuba late next week.