Jamaica Saved From Full Impact of Matthew


Streets in Kingston began flooding on Monday as the first rain bands from Hurricane Matthew drenched the island, but the storm is now tracking away from the island. (Screen grab from NBC News video)

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday October 4, 2016
– While Matthew may still be a powerful Category 4 hurricane, which up to yesterday afternoon had Jamaica under a hurricane warning, it’s on a path that is taking it east of the country, sparing the island its full impact.

Government yesterday evening discontinued a hurricane warning and replaced it with a tropical storm warning as Hurricane Matthew’s centre tracked closer to Haiti.

At 8 a.m., Matthew was 10 miles east of Tiburon, Haiti, and moving towards the north at 9 miles per hour. Hurricane Matthew is packing maximum sustained winds near 145 miles per hour with higher gusts.

Director of Jamaica’s Meteorological Service, Evan Thompson, said authorities believe the island had been “spared a bit”, according to the Associated Press, considering forecasters initially predicted Matthew’s eye might rake over Jamaica’s east as a powerful hurricane.

“We escaped the worst of the impacts, but we don’t think that we are out of the woods yet,” Thompson said as Matthew’s outer bands continued to soak parts of the island.

Many residents have chosen to ride Matthew out at home. But up to yesterday afternoon, approximately 89 shelters island wide were housing 1,845 people.

The island is expected to be outside the range of hurricane-force winds associated with Matthew, but will experience tropical storm conditions.

Matthew is expected to produce total rainfall amounts in eastern Jamaica of 4 to 6 inches, with isolated amounts of 10 inches, and 1 to 2 inches in the west of the island with isolated amounts of 3 inches.

The warning downgrade comes as partial relief for a country whose infrastructure, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie had said, could not withstand the brunt of Hurricane Matthew’s strong winds and heavy rains.

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