Too Much To Handle: Government Official Says Matthew Will Be Too Much For Jamaica


Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday October 3, 2016
– Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie says there’s no way the country’s infrastructure could handle the level of rain and wind anticipated to accompany Hurricane Matthew.

He said the Government has done everything possible and all that is now left is for nature to take its course, according to the Jamaica Observer newspaper.

McKenzie reported that contact has been made with international partners and the Government has indicated some of the things it might need to start the rebuilding process, if necessary.

Matthew, which is inching closer to Kingston and the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, has weakened over the last 24 hours and at 5 a.m. maximum sustained winds had dropped to 130 miles per hour with higher gusts, but was still a dangerous Category Four hurricane. 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.

At 5 a.m., Hurricane Matthew was 230 miles south southeast of Kingston and moving towards the north at near 6 miles per hour.

Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach Jamaica later today, while hurricane conditions will begin 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. This rainfall will likely produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

But even before the hurricane reached Jamaica, the island got just a small taste of what is to come yesterday.

And if the rain which affected the Corporate Area and other sections of the island is an indication of the effects of Hurricane Matthew, Jamaica will be in for a battering when the storm gets closer to land today.
Spanish Town Road, Marcus Garvey Drive, Seaview Gardens, Hagley Park Road, Constant Spring Road, and Chelsea Avenue were among the areas of the Corporate Area where heavy flooding was reported yesterday, reported the Jamaica Observer.

The Meteorological Service said the parishes of Portland, St Thomas, St Mary, Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine, and St Ann were the parishes expected to get the brunt of the rain and winds from the powerful Category four hurricane.

McKenzie said the rain yesterday was an indication that the effects of the hurricane could be catastrophic, and he appealed to residents of low-lying areas to take the warnings seriously and evacuate by last night.

Buses were sent to evacuate residents in Port Royal. However, many people insisted they would not leave their homes.

A total of 900 shelters have been opened islandwide to accommodate people seeking refuge.
Government, in the meantime, has ordered that all schools be closed today to ensure the safety of children and staff during the passage of the hurricane.

Education Minister Senator Ruel Reid said a number of schools are being used as shelters, so their reopening would depend on the impact of the hurricane.

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