KINGSTON, Jamaica, Sunday October 2, 2016 – Jamaica, Haiti, and parts of Cuba are under a hurricane warning as a slow moving and powerful Category 4 Hurricane Matthew continues on a path towards those Caribbean countries.
The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami said a t 11 a.m. that Matthew – about 350 miles south southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti and 310 miles south southeast of Jamaica’s capital, Kingston and moving west at near 3 miles per hour – was meandering but still expected to move northwestward to northward.
“A turn toward the northwest is expected later today, followed by a turn toward the north tonight. On the forecast track, the centre of Matthew will approach southwestern Haiti and Jamaica on Monday,” the NHC said.
Matthew was packing maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour with higher gusts. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles.
“Some fluctuations in intensity are possible during the next couple of days, but Matthew is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through Monday night,” the NHC added.
Hurricane conditions are expected to reach Jamaica and Haiti tomorrow, and eastern Cuba tomorrow night. Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach Jamaica and Haiti this evening, and eastern Cuba early tomorrow.
“Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion,” the NHC advised.
Residents of Jamaica have been stocking up on drinking water and supplies in preparation for a violent period of weather, which could include storm surges, flooding and landslides.
Since Friday, Jamaica’s Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie said the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) had started deploying the necessary items to shelters island wide.
He urged citizens to comply with evacuation notices and said that transportation would be in place to take people to shelters.
“We are putting in place all the necessary arrangements so that we can respond to the needs. We know the critical areas in Jamaica, places like Rocky Point, Port Royal, New Haven, Taylor Lands, we know these critical areas across the country…All shelters will be provided with the necessary resources,” McKenzie added.
A hurricane watch is also in effect for the Cuban province of Camaguey; southeastern Bahamas, including the Inaguas, Mayaguana, Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, and Ragged Islands; and Turks and Caicos Islands.
Additionally, the Dominican Republic from Barahona westward to the border with Haiti is under a tropical storm warning while Dominican Republic from Puerto Plata westward to the border with Haiti is under a tropical storm watch.
Tropical storm conditions are expected along the southern coast of the Dominican Republic within the warning area by tonight.
Hurricane conditions are possible in the hurricane watch areas by late Tuesday with tropical storm conditions possible by early Tuesday. Tropical storm conditions are also possible in the tropical storm watch area in the Dominican Republic by late tomorrow.