Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Jamaica under severe weather alert from Tropical Storm 'Matthew'

Published:Thursday | September 29, 2016 | 9:00 AM

Jamaica has been placed on alert from Tropical Storm Matthew, which was formed near the Eastern Caribbean yesterday morning.

Reports from the Meteorological Service of Jamaica are that up to press time, the centre of Matthew was moving through the Windward Islands and over to the southern and central Caribbean Sea by tomorrow.

Thereafter, it could move closer to Jamaica and pose a direct threat to the island.

The Meteorological Service has also indicated that maximum sustained winds are near 95 kilometres per hour, with higher gusts and with gradual strengthening forecast during the next couple of days, Matthew could become a hurricane by tomorrow.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) has since alerted all agencies and parish disaster committees. Emergency managers, responders, and volunteers have been placed on standby.

The public is being asked to continue monitoring the media for further information and updates pertaining to Tropical Storm Matthew.

In the meantime, Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives Derrick Smith said yesterday that all 63 members of parliament should be on standby for an emergency meeting at Jamaica House.

With the need for possible emergency responses to the impending weather system, it is believed that the Government will discuss plans to mitigate the possible effects of the weather system, particularly in areas prone to flooding.

At the same time, the Jamaica Public Service last night said, in response to the approaching system, it had activated its emergency operations "to facilitate timely response to any damage to its power delivery infrastructure".