Now It’s The Bahamas’ Turn: Effects Of A Weaker Hurricane Matthew Spread Over Island Chain

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There has already been flooding in some parts of the Bahamas, including the capital Nassau. (Photo: Screen grab from Josh Morgerman video on Twitter)


NASSAU, The Bahamas, Wednesday October 5, 2016
– Hurricane Matthew’s strong winds, heavy rains, and a dangerous storm surge this morning started to spread over the Bahamas after leaving behind widespread damage in Haiti’s rural south and making a dash across Cuba.

The archipelago will be slammed with major hurricane conditions through tomorrow.

Matthew, which weakened overnight to a Category 3 hurricane with winds near 120 miles per hour after interacting with the large mountainous islands of Hispaniola and Cuba, is heading for the central and northwestern Bahamas.

The Turks and Caicos will also face moderate impacts by the hurricane as the eye passes well to the west.

Hurricane Matthew was around 105 miles south of  Long Island, the Bahamas  at 11 a.m., and heading towards the northwest at near 12 miles per hour.

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“This motion is expected to continue today, followed by a northwestward turn tonight.  On this track, Matthew will be moving across the Bahamas through Thursday, and is expected to be very near the east coast of Florida by Thursday evening,” the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami said.

“Some slight strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days.”

Matthew is expected to produce total rainfall amounts in the Bahamas of 8 to 12 inches, and isolated amounts of 15 inches.

The Lynden Pindling International Airport closed at 11 a.m. All cruise ships have now re-routed away from ports in The Bahamas to other destinations.

The Port of Nassau closed at noon yesterday, and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force will take charge of the facility and be responsible for its reopening.

Steps have also been taken to ensure visitors are safe. Shelters have been opened on each of the islands and officials are moving to ensure that guests either evacuate or take shelter.

“We are praying for the best outcome with the storm,” said Director General in the Ministry of Tourism Joy Jibirlu.

“The Bahamas is a place where the world comes to vacation. As we prepare to face the impending hurricane, what is of critical importance to us is the safety of our residents and visitors. Once the all clear is given, we will turn our attention to assisting with recovery efforts, if necessary, and also to sending the message to the world that The Bahamas is once again open for business.”

Prime Minister Perry Christie urged residents living on the southern coast of any of the islands to move to higher ground.

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Prime Minister Perry Christie (left) and various stakeholders operating under the umbrella of the National Emergency Management Agency updated the nation on the approaching Hurricane Matthew. (Credit: BIS Photos/Eric Rose)

The Bahamas has still not completed restoration from Hurricane Joaquin which hit a year ago.

Christie said it was “an incredible challenge” having to face another hurricane at this time.

But he assured that government would dedicate whatever resources are necessary to protect Bahamians and restore the country to normalcy after Matthew’s impact.

“Let us pray that there is no impact at all from this hurricane, and if there is impact that it is minimal impact on our people and on our country,” the Prime Minister said. “In any event . . . the government remains ready and prepared to take immediate action now and after the impact of the hurricane.”

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