Hurricane Matthew, now a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of nearly 130 mph, is expected to slam into Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba this week.
The Eye of the hurricane was predicted to move toward southwestern Haiti and Jamaica Monday and was expected to remain strong into late Tuesday.
Hurricane warnings were issued for all of Jamaica and Haiti along with the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Granma, and Las Tunas.
Hurricane Matthew is the strongest storm to hit the Atlantic Ocean’s tropic in a decade. The storm was 230 miles south-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica and moving north at 6 mph.
The Jamaica Observer reported Monday that the parishes of Portland, St. Thomas, St. Mary, Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, and St. Ann are expected to get the brunt of Matthew’s rain and winds.
During a press conference at Jamaica’s Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, local government minister Desmond McKenzie said that the heavy rain could be catastrophic and asked for residents in low-lying areas to evacuate, reported the Jamaica Observer.
Officials were using public transit buses to move people from their homes in the Corporate Area in to the National Arena in Kingston, stated the Observer. The news website said that 900 shelters had been opened throughout the island for those fleeing the storm.
National Weather Service reported that Matthew dropping 25 ins of rain on southern Haiti, along with as much as 40 ins in isolated areas. The storm made landfall there Monday night on its western tip.
The storm surge accompanying the hurricane could be as high as 10 feet while the heavy rain could trigger significant flooding and landslides, according to reports.
In Cuba, the United States airlifted 700 family members of military personnel stationed at its naval base at Guantanamo Bay to Florida. Officials said remaining personnel would seek shelter in designated locations including their homes.
The 61 prisoners remaining in detention at Guantanamo Bay will not be evacuated. Forecasters said it was not known if Matthew would directly affect the east coast of the United States later this week.
Stay safe and dry
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