When Matthew Will Make Impact And What It Will Bring

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FLORIDA, United States, Monday October 3, 2016 – Hurricane Matthew is hours away from delivering a potentially catastrophic strike on Haiti, and parts of Jamaica, eastern Cuba and the Bahamas.

The centre of the Category 4 hurricane will approach Jamaica and southwestern Haiti tonight, according to the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 130 mph with higher gusts.  The NHC said that while some fluctuations in intensity are possible during the next couple of days, Matthew is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through early Wednesday.

At 11 a.m., Matthew was about 275 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti and 205 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, and moving towards the north near 6 mph. The centre will approach Jamaica and southwestern Haiti tonight, and eastern Cuba tomorrow, and move near or over portions of the southeastern and central Bahamas tomorrow night and Wednesday.

Hurricane warnings continue in Jamaica, Haiti, eastern Cuba, and the southeastern Bahamas. Hurricane watches remain in effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Cuban province of Camaguey, and the central Bahamas, including Long Island, Exuma, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Cat Island.

Here is the approximate timing of the worst wind and surge impacts, coinciding with the nearest passage of the eyewall of Matthew, according to The Weather Channel:

  • Jamaica: Late Monday/early Tuesday
  • Haiti/Dominican Republic: Late Monday/Tuesday
  • Eastern Cuba: Tuesday/Tuesday night
  • Southeast & central Bahamas/Turks & Caicos: Tuesday afternoon into at least Wednesday night

Impacts, such as outer rain bands and some initial tropical storm-force gusts have already begun in parts of Jamaica and Hispañola (including Haiti), and will begin in eastern Cuba today. This could make preparations difficult.

Over a foot of rainfall from Matthew may trigger life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. In Haiti, in particular, heavy rainfall could be catastrophic. Here are the latest rainfall projections from the NHC:

  • Southern Haiti, southwest Dominican Republic: 15 to 25 inches, locally up to 40 inches
  • Western Haiti, eastern Cuba: 8 to 12 inches, locally up to 20 inches
  • Northeast Haiti, rest of the Dominican Republic: 1 to 3 inches, locally up to 5 inches
  • Eastern Jamaica: 5 to 10 inches, locally up to 15 inches
  • Southeast Bahamas: 8 to 12 inches, locally up to 15 inches
  • Turks and Caicos: 2 to 5 inches, locally up to 8 inches

As Matthew comes northward, both waves and storm surge will increase on the southward facing shores of Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba. On the current forecast track, water levels will likely fall into the following ranges as indicated as amounts above normal tide levels:

  • Central and southeastern Bahamas: 10 to 15 feet
  • South coast of Cuba east of Cabo Cruz: 7 to 11 feet
  • South coast of Haiti: 7 to 10 feet
  • North coast of Cuba east of Camaguey: 4 to 6 feet
  • Jamaica: 3 to 5 feet
  • Gulf of Gonave (Haiti): 3 to 5 feet
  • South coast of the Dominican Republic: 1 to 3 feet

Hurricane Matthew is the fifth named hurricane of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season. Before it reached hurricane status, it impacted Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines as a tropical storm. One person was killed in St. Vincent during the storm’s passage.

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