Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Weather update: Expect tropical storm conditions tonight as Hurricane Matthew nears

Published:Sunday | October 2, 2016 | 10:50 PM
A man walks away from his broken down motor car as torrential rainfall floods a section of Trafalgar Road, St Andrew yesterday - Omari Morgan photo

Heavy rains, gusty winds and thunderstorms have begun to affect sections of the island as Hurricane Matthew continues to move towards Jamaica.

Already, there have been reports of flooding in several places as Jamaica, now under a hurricane warning, continues to feel the outer bands of the powerful category four storm.

The Meteorological Office of Jamaica says St Mary, Portland, St Thomas, Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine should begin to experience Tropical Storm conditions tonight, which should peak Tuesday.

By Monday, expect dangerously high water or a combination of dangerously high water and exceptionally high waves, even though winds expected may be less than hurricane force.

The Met Service says average wind speeds greater than 118 kilometres per hour.

At 4:00 p.m. the centre of Hurricane Matthew was located near Latitude 14.6 degrees North, Longitude 74.8 degrees West. 

This is about 435 kilometres (270 miles) south-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica or 520 kilometres (320 miles) south-southwest of Port au Prince, Haiti.

Matthew is moving toward the northwest at 7 km/h (5 mph).

A turn toward the north is expected tonight. 

On the forecast track, the centre of Matthew will approach Jamaica and southwestern Haiti on Monday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 230 km/h (145 mph), with higher gusts.

According to the Met Service, some fluctuations in intensity are possible during the next couple of days, but Matthew is expected to remain a powerful hurricane into Tuesday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 55 km (35 miles) from the centre and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 335 km (205 miles).

The National Works Agency reported via it's Twitter handle this afternoon that it has been responding to flooding in Red Hills in St Thomas, while flooding was reported along Balmoral Ave, Constant Spring Road, and Red Hills Road in the vicinity of Lasco.  

Marcus Garvey Drive was also impassable as well as Hagley Park Road.