TAMPA (FOX 13) - Hurricane Hunters flying through Tropical Storm Matthew found hurricane-force winds this afternoon, prompting the National Hurricane Center to upgrade the storm to a hurricane.
As of the NHC's 2 p.m. update, Matthew had sustained winds of 75 mph, and hurricane-force winds extended out 70 miles from the center.
Matthew is still moving west in the southern Caribbean, well south of Puerto Rico. Swells generated by the storm are expected to affect the coasts of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Venezuela, and Colombia during the next few days, while rainfall totals in some of those areas could reach 2 to 4 inches or more.
The hurricane is expected to gradually strengthen as it continues moving west, but a northern turn is expected over the weekend. Forecast models then have Matthew continuing on a northward track off Florida's east coast.