Sunday, October 02, 2016

Powerful Hurricane Matthew heads north towards Jamaica

The view of Hurricane Matthew from inside the US Air Force C-130 Hurricane Hunter. (Twitter@53d_HHA)
Hurricane Matthew started a slow turn to the northwest Sunday morning. The 13th storm of this busy Atlantic hurricane season is also the strongest since Felix in 2007. On Saturday morning, Matthew attained the strongest Category 5 status, with 160mph winds. The storm has since settled back to 150mph winds, with gusts to 185mph, making it a Category 4 storm on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Scale. Hurricane warnings have been posted for Jamaica, Haiti and eastern Cuba. A hurricane watch is in effect for the Bahamas. All interests up and down the east coast from Florida to Nova Scotia should monitor the track of Matthew during the upcoming week.

The National Hurricane Center forecast track of Hurricane Matthew through the southern Caribbean. (NHC)
On Sunday morning, a US Air Force C130 Hercules Hurricane Hunter aircraft reported the center of Matthew 315 miles (510km) south southeast of Kingston, Jamaica at 8:00 a.m. Matthew is moving northwest at 5mph. The storm is forecast to maintain a slow trip north, taking the center across western Haiti or eastern Jamaica and into eastern Cuba over the next 36 hours. Beyond then, the storm may impact the US coast late in the week. Preparations are being rushed to completion in Jamaica and Haiti. Along with the wind and storm surge, torrential rain is forecast; in some cases, over 20 inches (500mm) of rain is possible. This type of rainfall over the mountainous portions of Haiti has, in the past, resulted in deadly flash flooding and mudslides.

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