Matthew strengthens to Cat. 4 hurricane

A structure lays on the ground, brought down by the winds of Hurricane Matthew in Leogane, Haiti. Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Matthew slammed into Haiti's southwestern tip with howling, 145 mph winds tearing off roofs in the poor and largely rural area, uprooting trees and leaving rivers bloated and choked with debris. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
A structure lays on the ground, brought down by the winds of Hurricane Matthew in Leogane, Haiti. Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Matthew slammed into Haiti's southwestern tip with howling, 145 mph winds tearing off roofs in the poor and largely rural area, uprooting trees and leaving rivers bloated and choked with debris. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

MIAMI (AP) – Hurricane Matthew has strengthened to a catastrophic Category 4 storm as it barrels toward the heavily populated coast of Florida.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm’s maximum sustained winds had strengthened to 140 mph as of late Thursday morning and were expected to maintain their strength as the storm approaches the Florida coast.

Hurricane conditions were also still affecting the Bahamas. The storm was expected to start affecting Florida by early afternoon Thursday.

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