Hurricane Matthew grows to Category Two in Caribbean

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MIAMI – Hurricane Matthew strengthened to a Category Two storm early Friday as it churned in the Caribbean near the island of Curacao, US weather forecasters said. The hurricane was packing winds near 100 miles per hour (155 kilometers per hour) with higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center said. That makes it a Category Two storm on a scale of one to five, with five being the strongest. It was expected to continue to strengthen over the next 48 hours, and could become a major hurricane later Friday, forecasters said. A tropical storm watch has been issued for Curacao and Aruba, where two to four inches (five to 10 centimeters) of rain are expected through Saturday. The area from the Colombia-Venezuela border west to Riohacha was also under a tropical storm watch, with possible inclement conditions within the next 24 to 36 hours. Matthew could generate life-threatening swells and rip currents affecting the coasts of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Venezuela and Colombia in the coming days, the hurricane center said. At 0600 GMT, Matthew was about 125 miles north of Curacao and 565 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. It was moving to the west at 14 miles per hour.

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