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Hurricane warning issued for Jamaica and much of Haiti
Published on October 2, 2016 Email To Friend    Print Version

Hurricane Matthew five-day forecast track. NHC/NOAA graphic

By Caribbean News Now contributor

MIAMI, USA -- Hurricane Matthew, which remained a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale on Saturday, is expected to approach Jamaica and southwestern Haiti on Monday, bringing life-threatening rainfall to portions of Haiti.

The government of Jamaica has issued a hurricane warning for Jamaica and a hurricane warning has also been issued for Haiti from the southern border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St Nicholas.

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, at 5:00 pm EDT on Saturday, the eye of Hurricane Matthew was located about 360 miles (580 km) south-southwest of Port au Prince, Haiti, and about 385 miles (620 km) southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, drifting toward the northwest near 3 mph (6 km/h).

A slow northwestward motion is expected to continue through Saturday night and a turn toward the north-northwest with an increase in forward speed is expected on Sunday, followed by a turn toward the north on Monday.

A hurricane watch is in effect for Haiti from east of Le Mole St Nicholas to the northern border with the Dominican Republic, Cuba from Camaguey province to Guantanamo province. Interests elsewhere in Hispaniola and in The Bahamas should monitor the progress of Matthew. A hurricane watch could be issued for portions of The Bahamas on Saturday night or Sunday.

Data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 150 mph (240 km/h) with higher gusts. Some fluctuations in intensity are possible during the next couple of days, but Matthew is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through Monday. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles (335 km).

Hurricane conditions are expected to reach the warning area in Jamaica and Haiti on Monday. Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach these areas by late Sunday or Sunday night, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion. Hurricane conditions are possible the hurricane watch areas by Monday night or Tuesday morning, with tropical storm conditions possible by Monday.

Matthew is expected to produce additional rain accumulations of 1 to 2 inches over Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire through Sunday. Matthew is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 2 to 4 inches over northern Colombia, northwest Venezuela, and western Jamaica, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 6 inches. Matthew is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 15 to 25 inches over southern Haiti, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 40 inches. Matthew is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 10 to 20 inches over eastern Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and eastern Cuba, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches. This rainfall will likely produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.

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 -- 5 to 8 feet; northern coast of Cuba east of Camaguey-- 4 to 6 feet; Jamaica -- 3 to 5 feet; Gulf of Gonave in Haiti -- 2 to 4 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.

Swells generated by Matthew are expected to affect portions of the coasts of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Venezuela, Colombia, eastern Cuba, and the Caribbean coastline of Central America during the next few days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
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