Wed | Aug 23, 2017

#MappingMATTHEW: Hurricane weakens slightly to category four, still powerful

Published:Saturday | October 1, 2016 | 10:06 PM
This screen grab from the Weather Channel shows path of Hurricane Matthew over the next few days.

Hurricane Matthew has weakened slightly and is now at category four as it heads towards Jamaica.

With winds now near 255 kilometres per hour, this is still a very powerful storm.

Tropical storm conditions are possible by late Sunday and by Monday, there could be hurricane conditions.

Expect 10 to 15 inches of rainfall and up to 25 inches in some places, life-threatening flash flooding and mud slides.

The Meteorological Service says at 4:00 a.m. the eye of Hurricane Matthew was located near Latitude 13.3 degrees North, Longitude 72.8 degrees West.

This is about 675 kilometres (420 miles) southeast of Kingston, Jamaica or 590 kilometres (365 miles) south of Port au Prince, Haiti.

Matthew is moving toward the west near 11 km/h (7 mph).

IN PHOTO: A long line of cars outside MegaMart on Waterloo Road, St Andrew as people shop for last minute hurricane item

A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast later today, followed by a turn toward the north-northwest on Sunday.

On the forecast track the centre of Matthew will move away from the Guajira Peninsula, Columbia this morning, move across the central Caribbean Sea today, and will be approaching Jamaica on Sunday.

Maximum sustained winds are now near 250 km/h (155 mph), with higher gusts.

Some fluctuations in intensity are possible this weekend, but Matthew is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through Sunday.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 75 km (45 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.

Follow The Gleaner's coverage of Hurricane Matthew on Twitter @JamaicaGleaner #MappingMATTHEW at www.jamaica-gleaner.com and listen to Power 106FM