KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday October 3, 2016 – Hurricane Matthew hasn’t yet hit Jamaica but Prime Minister Andrew Holness says his government is already focused on making sure the country has a speedy recovery following the passage of what was still a Category 4 hurricane up to early this morning.
He says the aim is to ensure that the impact of the system does not derail the country’s economic programme.
“We are determined not to let that happen. We are ensuring that all government agencies understand that they have a role in the speedy recovery, which will ensure that our economy does not suffer unnecessarily,” Holness said following a tour of several areas in Kingston and St. Andrew to observe work underway in preparation for the hurricane over the weekend.
He said Jamaica is better prepared to handle a storm than it was in the past.
“The marker for hurricane impact in recent times would be Hurricane Gilbert and I am certain that Jamaica is much better prepared. There are still Jamaicans, who would want to dismiss the hurricane…but those are in the minority,” the prime minister said.
As of 5 a.m., Matthew was carrying maximum sustained winds near 130 miles per hour. It was located 230 miles south southeast of the capital, Kingston and moving towards the north at near 6 miles per hour.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the centre of Matthew and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to reach Jamaica later today before the island begins experiencing hurricane conditions tonight.
Matthew is expected to produce total rain accumulations across eastern Jamaica, of 5 to 10 inches is expected, with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches possible, likely producing life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.