Tropical Storm Matthew is expected to intensify into a hurricane by Friday.
The storm was located at about 90 miles west of St. Lucia as of 7 p.m. CST on Wednesday. Areas including Martinique and nearby islands were affected by the storm system, which has brought along storm force winds since Tuesday.
Tropical Storm Matthew: Warnings issued for Caribbean islands
According to NOLA, the storm has produced winds of speed as high as 65 miles per hour, including a gust of 89 miles per hour recorded at St. Pierre, Martinique. Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Caribbean islands including Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, Dominica, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadine Islands.
As reported by Weather.com, Windward Islands and southern Leeward Islands could be affected with 4 to 8 inches of rainfall through Thursday. Life threatening flash flooding is expected to strike the area. The northern Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico could receive 1 to 2 inches of rainfall.
The Leeward Antilles, including Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao – where tropical storm watches have been placed in effect – could receive rainfall of 1 to 3 inches through Friday. The areas could also experience winds of speed 40 miles per hour, or possibly higher, within 36 to 48 hours.
Sections of the lesser Antilles will be affected by tropical storm conditions overnight through Thursday.
Tropical Storm Matthew to take westward path
“[Tropical Storm] Matthew will take a westward path across the central Caribbean this weekend, where strengthening to a hurricane is possible,” AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said, as reported by USA Today. The storm could move northwards and towards northwest this weekend. According to AccuWeather tropical meteorologist Mike Doll, “A northward turn is not out of line with climatology with systems in the Caribbean during this time of the year.”
The storm will remain towards the east of the U.S. next week because of its continued westward movement into Central America.
Tropical Storm Matthew is the 13th named storm of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season.