Sat | Mar 17, 2018

Matthew claims one in St Vincent

Published:Friday | September 30, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Tropical Storm Matthew was nearing hurricane strength yesterday as it moved towards the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao in the southern Caribbean.

The so-called "ABC islands" of the Dutch Caribbean are outside the hurricane belt and are usually spared from tropical storms, making Matthew a rare event for the area. A tropical storm watch was in effect for all three places.

The Aruba weather service said the storm was expected to pass about 125 miles (200 kilometres) north of the island.

Matthew passed over the eastern Caribbean on Wednesday, causing at least one death. Officials in St Vincent say a 16-year-old boy was crushed by a boulder as he tried to clear a blocked drain.

At 11 a.m. the storm had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph) and was centred 225 miles (360 kilometre's) northeast of Curacao and 290 miles (465 kilometre's) south of Puerto Rico, according to the US National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Tropical storm-force winds extended out for 205 miles (335 kilometres). It was forecast to become a hurricane later Thursday, then turn to the north and head towards Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti.