Powerful Hurricane Matthew churns towards Jamaica, Haiti

Briefly a top threat overnight as a furious Category 5 storm on the 1-5 Saffir-Simpson scale, Matthew has now weakened into a still dangerous Category 4 hurricane, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.

Powerful Hurricane Matthew churns towards Jamaica, Haiti

World Bulletin / News Desk

Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful Caribbean storm in a decade, churned towards Jamaica and Haiti Saturday on a path forecasters said could take it to the eastern United States.

That makes it the strongest Caribbean storm since Hurricane Felix in 2007.

The hurricane is forecast to dump "10 to 20 inches (25-50 cm) over eastern Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and eastern Cuba, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 25 inches (64 centimeters)," the NHC said.

"This rainfall will likely produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides," it warned.

At 0001 GMT, Matthew had "barely moved during past few hours, but a slow northwestward motion is expected to begin tonight," the NHC said.

A turn toward the north-northwest with an increase in forward speed is forecast for Sunday, and then another to the north on Monday.

"On the forecast track, the center of Matthew will approach Jamaica and southwestern Haiti on Monday," the NHC said.

Jamaicans waited in long lines at supermarkets, hardware stores and gas stations to stock up on essentials before the storm's arrival.

"This is not a joking matter," Desmond McKenzie, minister of local government and community development, told residents of the island.

"There is no room for any mischief to be made as we face one of the most severe natural disasters in quite a long while," he added.

Some Jamaicans voiced skepticism at the dire warnings, saying that in the past they had stockpiled supplies and hunkered down only to see the storm to pass.

"I am tired of wasting my money buying food, gas, boarding up my house," said Michael Franklin, a taxi driver in Montego Bay.

"Then all we get is just a lot of rain and we can't get back our money," he added.

The hurricane was "meandering over the south-central Caribbean," packing winds of 150 miles (240 kilometers) per hour, with higher gusts, the NHC said.

The center of the storm is located 360 miles south of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, and 385 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, the NHC said.

Current weather models showed it could eventually make its way to the US mainland, forecasters said.

"It is too soon to rule out possible hurricane impacts from Matthew in Florida," the NHC said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Ekim 2016, 10:15