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article imageHurricane Matthew now a catastrophic threat to Haiti and Jamaica

By Karen Graham     Oct 2, 2016 in Science
Matthew is now a furious and dangerous hurricane packing 145 mph (230 kph) winds as it bears down on Haiti and Jamaica, a scenario that could very well be catastrophic to the two island countries.
The 11:00 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center shows Matthew regaining a little strength as it continues on its northwestward path at 5.0 mph (7.0 kph). The minimum central pressure is 945 mb (27.91 inches).
The monster storm is now 335 miles (535 kilometers) south-southwest of Port Au Prince, Haiti and 295 miles (475 kilometers) south-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. With maximum sustained winds of 145 mph (230 kph), hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 kilometers) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles (335 kilometers).
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NHC/NOAA
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Jamaica, Haiti and the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Granma and Las Tunas.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Dominican Republic from Barahona westward to the border with Haiti. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Dominican Republic from Puerto Plata westward to the border with Haiti.
Haiti and Jamaica right in the path
Hurricane Matthew is expected to drop torrential rainfall on Haiti and Jamaica starting Sunday evening before it makes landfall on Monday.
"This rainfall will produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," the National Weather Service said Sunday. "Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion."
A direct hit on Haiti would be an unbelievably catastrophic event for the island nation. Much of the country's infrastructure is still weakened from the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people. And with so many people living in structurally unsound shelters, the thought of any additional catastrophes is horrible to think about.
Additionally, Haiti is still fighting to handle a cholera epidemic that already killed 10,000 or more people. Jamaican PM Andrew Holness has been urging residents to make preparations says the BBC.
Evacuations in Haiti have been going on, moving people from high-risk areas and outlying islands. Boats are banned from going out. Forecasts are calling for as much as 25 inches of rainfall with up to 40 inches of rain in some areas of Haiti, and this could easily trigger devastating flash floods and mud slides.
Beware of the storm surges
The NHC says the combination of a dangerous storm surge and large and destructive waves could raise water levels by as much as 3 to 5 feet in Jamaica and the Gulf of Gonave in Haiti. Storm surge levels of 7 to 10 feet can be expected along the south coast of Haiti.
Workmen put up plywood on the Bank of Jamaica building to prepare it for the arrival of Hurricane Ma...
Workmen put up plywood on the Bank of Jamaica building to prepare it for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, in Kingston, on October 1, 2016
Ricardo Makyn, AFP
Fishermen pull a boat out of the water before the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Kingston  Jamaica ...
Fishermen pull a boat out of the water before the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Kingston, Jamaica on October 1, 2016
Richardo Makyn, AFP
Jamaicans poured into grocery stores today ahead of Hurricane Matthew s arrival on Monday.
Jamaicans poured into grocery stores today ahead of Hurricane Matthew's arrival on Monday.
Public Broadcasting Service
More about Hurricane matthew, catastrophic threat, monstrous storm, Haiti and Jamaica, Cholera
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