Jamaica starts feeling hurricane’s effect; storm slows and meanders
High surf has started pounding Jamaica’s coast as Hurricane Matthew edges closer, and flooding temporarily closed the road linking the capital to its airport.
Carl Ferguson, head of the marine police, said people were starting to heed calls to relocate from small islands and areas near rural waterways.
The powerful storm is expected to reach eastern Jamaica on Monday. Matthew is expected to bring heavy rainfall especially to the eastern tip of Jamaica and higher elevations, which could trigger flooding and landslides.
Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas are also at risk. The U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is evacuating non-essential personnel. Forecasters say it’s too soon to say what impact the storm might have on Florida or other parts of the East Coast.
As of 2 p.m. EDT, the storm’s winds had dropped to about 140 mph, its movement had slowed and its direction shifted. It was centered about 400 miles south-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica, moving toward the south at 2 mph.
Forecasters expect it to resume its westward motion later today, followed by a turn toward the west-northwest by tonight. A turn toward the north-northwest is forecast on Sunday, with northward motion expected on Monday. On the forecast track, the center of Matthew would move across the central Caribbean Sea and approach Jamaica and southwestern Haiti Sunday night and Monday.