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Matthew strengthens to category 4; hurricane watch issued for Jamaica
Published on October 1, 2016Email To Friend    Print Version

hurricane_matthew_visible.jpg
Hurricane Matthew visible satellite image on Friday. NOAA image

By Caribbean News Now contributor

MIAMI, USA -- Matthew rapidly strengthened to a powerful category 4 hurricane on the Saffir- Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale on Friday and on its forecast track the centre will move north across the central Caribbean Sea on Saturday, and be near Jamaica on Sunday. A hurricane watch has been issued for Jamaica.

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, at 5:00 pm EDT on Friday the eye of Hurricane Matthew was located about 75 miles (120 km) north of Punta Gallinas, Colombia, and about 465 miles (750 km) southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.

Matthew was moving toward the west-southwest near 9 mph (15 km/h) and a westward motion at a slower forward speed was expected Friday night and Saturday. A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast by Saturday night, followed by a turn toward the northwest on Sunday.

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

Data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 140 mph (220 km/h) with higher gusts. Some additional strengthening is possible Friday night, and some fluctuations in intensity are possible Saturday and Sunday. Matthew is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through Sunday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km).

A hurricane watch is in effect for Jamaica and a tropical storm warning is in effect for the Colombia/Venezuela border to Riohacha. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Haiti from the southern border with the Dominican Republic to Port-Au-Prince.

Interests elsewhere along the coasts of Venezuela and Colombia, in Hispaniola and in eastern Cuba should also monitor the progress of Matthew.

Tropical storm conditions are expected in portions of the warning area in Colombia through Friday night. Hurricane conditions are possible on Jamaica on Monday, with tropical storm conditions possible by late Sunday. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch area in Haiti by late Sunday.

Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches with isolated higher amounts are expected over Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao through Saturday. Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches with isolated higher amounts are expected along the coast of Colombia from the Venezuelan border to Riohacha. Rainfall totals of 1 to 2 inches with isolated higher amounts are expected along the coast of Venezuela from Coro to the Colombian border. Rainfall totals of 10 to 15 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches are expected across Jamaica and southern and southwestern Haiti. These rains may produce life-threatening flash flooding and mud slides.

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