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Bahamas expects direct hit for Nassau from Hurricane Matthew
Published on October 5, 2016 Email To Friend    Print Version

 hurricane_matthew_3-day.jpg
Hurricane Matthew three-day forecast track. NHC/NOAA graphic

By Caribbean News Now contributor

MIAMI, USA -- For the first time since 1929, Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, is expected to suffer a direct hit from a major hurricane.

Director of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Captain Stephen Russell said residents on the Family Islands should prepare to be self sufficient for at least three days.

Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade urged coastline dwelling residents and those in low-lying communities to evacuate immediately.

NEMA coordinated charters on Monday to evacuate willing residents on several of the southern islands such as Long Island, Acklins and Crooked Island.

Schools throughout the country are expected to be closed before the storm makes landfall.

Prime Minister Perry Christie warned that airports throughout the country will be closed imminently, heightening the need to move and evacuate “vulnerable” residents as soon as possible, The Nassau Guardian reported.

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, at 5:00 pm EDT on Tuesday, the eye of Hurricane Matthew was located about 65 miles (105 km) east-southeast of Guantanamo, Cuba, and about 30 miles (45 km) south-southwest of the eastern tip of Cuba, with the northern eyewall already pounding the eastern tip of the island.

Matthew was moving toward the north near 9 mph (15 km/h) as the eye moved over the extreme portion of eastern Cuba. A turn toward the north-northwest is expected by Wednesday, followed by a northwest turn Wednesday night. Matthew is expected to move near or over portions of the southeastern and central Bahamas on Tuesday night and Wednesday, and approach the northwestern Bahamas on Wednesday night.

Maximum sustained winds are near 140 mph (220 km/h) with higher gusts. Matthew is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are possible during the next couple of days, but Matthew is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through at least Thursday night. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km).

A hurricane warning is in effect for Haiti, the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Granma, and Las Tunas, the southeastern Bahamas, including the Inaguas, Mayaguana, Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, and Ragged Island, the central Bahamas, including Long Island, Exuma, Rum Cay, San Salvador, and Cat Island, the northwestern Bahamas, including the Abacos, Andros Island, Berry Islands, Bimini, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama and New Providence

A hurricane watch is in effect for the Cuban province of Camaguey.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Dominican Republic from Barahona westward to the border with Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for the Dominican Republic from Puerto Plata westward to the border with Haiti.

Hurricane conditions were still affecting portions of Haiti and were likely occurring over eastern Cuba, and were expected to begin in the southeastern Bahamas on Tuesday evening, the central Bahamas on Wednesday, and the northwestern Bahamas on Wednesday night.

Tropical storm conditions are expected to continue spreading across the remainder of Haiti, eastern Cuba and the southeastern Bahamas on Tuesday night, and should reach the central and northwestern Bahamas on Wednesday, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Tropical storm conditions are still occurring in portions of the Dominican Republic within the warning area, and these conditions will spread northward into the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday night.

Hurricane conditions were possible in the hurricane watch areas in Cuba on Tuesday night, with tropical storm conditions possible later.

Matthew is expected to produce total rainfall amounts in the following areas: southern Haiti and southwestern Dominican Republic -- 15 to 25 inches, isolated 40 inches; eastern Cuba and northwestern Haiti -- 8 to 12 inches, isolated 20 inches; eastern Jamaica -- 4 to 6 inches, isolated 12 inches; The Bahamas -- 8 to 12 inches, isolated 15 inches; Turks and Caicos Islands -- 2 to 5 inches, isolated 8 inches; northeastern Haiti and the northern Dominican Republic -- 1 to 3 inches, isolated 5 inches; western Jamaica -- 1 to 2 inches, isolated 3 inches.

Life-threatening flash floods and mudslides are likely from this rainfall in southern and northwestern Haiti, the southwestern Dominican Republic, and eastern Cuba.

The combination of a dangerous storm surge and large and destructive waves could raise water levels by as much as the following amounts above normal tide levels: southern coast of Cuba east of Cabo Cruz -- 7 to 11 feet; south coast of Haiti -- 7 to 10 feet; northern coast of Cuba east of Camaguey -- 4 to 6 feet; Gulf of Gonave in Haiti -- 3 to 5 feet; southern coast of the Dominican Republic -- 1 to 3 feet; The Bahamas -- 10 to 15 feet.

Surge-related flooding depends on the relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over short distances. Large waves generated by Matthew will cause water rises to occur well in advance of and well away from the track of the centre. The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.

Swells generated by Matthew will continue to affect portions of the coasts of Hispaniola, Jamaica, eastern Cuba, and the Caribbean coastline of Central America during the next few days. Swells from Matthew will begin affecting portions of The Bahamas on Tuesday. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
 
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