October 2016 – CARIBBEAN – Major Hurricane Matthew will pose severe risks to lives and property across Jamaica, eastern Cuba and Haiti by unleashing flooding rain, destructive winds and an inundating storm surge early next week. Matthew, currently a Category 4 (major) hurricane, will continue to slowly meander across the central Caribbean Sea before making an abrupt turn to the north later this weekend.
That will put the major hurricane on a path to track over or dangerously close to Jamaica or Haiti before threatening to make a direct hit on eastern Cuba. “There is a potential for Matthew to bring devastating winds, a deadly storm surge and flooding rain to parts of Jamaica, far western Haiti and eastern Cuba,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Mike Doll said. After moving away from the Caribbean, Matthew threatens to approach the U.S. East Coast during the middle and latter half of next week.
Matthew is the second major hurricane of the season, following Gaston from August. On Friday night, Matthew briefly became the first Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Basin since Hurricane Felix in 2007. While Matthew is no longer a Category 5 hurricane and could weaken to a Category 3 hurricane prior to reaching land, residents in its path should not let their guard down.
“If Matthew weakens to a Category 3 hurricane at any point into Monday, it could strengthen back to a Category 4 hurricane on its approach toward Jamaica,” Doll said. Rough seas, dangerous surf, stiff winds and gusty, drenching squalls will impact Aruba and the northern coasts of Venezuela and Colombia into Saturday evening. As Matthew turns to the north, hurricane conditions will ramp up across Jamaica, Haiti and eastern Cuba on Sunday night into Tuesday before eventually spreading into the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos later on Tuesday into Wednesday. Major Hurricane Matthew poses severe risk to lives in Caribbean.
How quickly Matthew turns to the north will determine whether the worst of the impacts track closer to Jamaica or Haiti on Monday. A slower turn to the north will take Matthew farther west toward Jamaica, while a faster turn to the north will take the storm farther east toward Haiti, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Ed Vallee. Latest indications take the center of Matthew closer to Jamaica than Haiti.