HURRICANE MATTHEW UPDATE #4 - Jamaica braces for Hurricane Matthew

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hurricane-matthew.pngHurricane Matthew remains a dangerous category four system as it moves closer to Jamaica. Maximum winds are now near 240 kilometres per hour (150 mph) up from 230 kp/h with higher gusts.

The Meteorological Service says although there could be further fluctuations over the weekend, Matthew is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through Monday when it should hit Jamaica. The eye of the system is now about 620 kilometres (385 miles) southeast of Kingston, Jamaica or 580 kilometres (360 miles) south-southwest of Port au Prince, Haiti.

It has started a slow turn towards the northwest is is expected to make further turn to the north-north westward which will bring it close to the eastern parishes of Portland and St Thomas over the next 24 to 36 hours. The entire island remains under a Hurricane Watch. At 4 p.m. the eye of Hurricane Matthew was located near Latitude 13.5 degrees North, Longitude 73.4 degrees West. Matthew is currently drifting toward the northwest near 6km/h (3mph).

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 35 km (25 miles) from the centre and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 335 km (205 miles).

All small craft operators including fishers from the cays and banks should by now have completed all the necessary safety precautions and are advised to remain in safe harbour until all warning messages have been lifted and wind and sea conditions have returned to normal.