HOUSTON (ICIS)--The eye of Hurricane Matthew was just off Freeport in the Bahamas on Thursday evening, with the Category 4 storm on track to reach Florida overnight, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
As of 17:00 US eastern time (21:00 GMT) Matthew was 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Florida moving 13 miles/hour (20 km/h) northwest. The hurricane's maximum windspeeds were holding steady at 140 miles/hour (220 km/h). Hurricane warnings have been extended through South Carolina.
The death toll in the Caribbean rose to at least 140 people as media reports made their way from Haiti.
According to NOAA, Matthew will move up the US Atlantic coast before leaving the North Carolina coastline Saturday on a predicted loop back towards Florida.
Tropical Storm Nicole strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane Thursday morning, and although it grew a little stronger in the afternoon, NOAA expects it to slow down and meander as Matthew moves north.
Meanwhile, the tropical wave southeast of the Caribbean has yet to grow stronger, and NOAA expects development to remain stagnant until next week.
Residents evacuate on Wednesday, 5 October 2016, from Merritt Island, Florida. Officials began evacuating Florida's coastal communities as Hurricane Matthew approached the US. (ddp USA/REX/Shutterstock)
INSET IMAGE: An infrared satellite view of Hurricane Matthew nearing Florida. (NOAA)