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article imageHurricane Matthew continues to rapidly intensify

By Karen Graham     Sep 30, 2016 in Environment
Hurricane Matthew has intensified and is now classified as a Category 4 storm by the NHC as of 5:00 p.m. on Friday. A hurricane watch has now been issued for Jamaica.
The storm poses a danger for Jamaica, parts of HispaƱola, eastern Cuba, and the Bahamas as it passes just east of Jamaica on Monday, but forecasters say it is large enough that it could affect the entire island, says Evan Thompson, the director of the National Meteorological Service, according to CBS News.
Jamaica could start feeling some early effects of the storm by as early as Saturday. The island has activated its National Emergency Operations Center and Prime Minister Andrew Holness has called an urgent meeting of the Parliament to discuss hurricane preparedness protocols.
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NOAA/NHC
NHC advisory number 11 at 5:00 p.m. placed Matthew about 465 miles (750 Kilometers) southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, moving at 9.0 mph (15 kph) in a west-southwest direction. The minimum central pressure is at 949 mb (28.03 inches), with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph (220kph).
A Hurricane Hunters reconnaissance mission this afternoon measured wind levels several thousand feet above the sea in the eye wall of the storm. Of some interest is the fact that Matthew is experiencing some wind shear several thousand feet above the ocean surface, but the storm is still intensifying.
While the rapid strengthening is expected to continue into tomorrow, when it will end is unclear, say forecasters. Tropical force rains and winds in the storm's outer bands are expected to hit parts of coastal Colombia to the Venezuela on Saturday, prompting the NHC to issue a Tropical Storm Warning for the area.
Sometime on Saturday or early Sunday, when Matthew reaches the edge of a Bermuda high it has been riding, it will make its long-expected northwest or northward turn. When the turn is made, Matthew will again be in the warm waters of the Caribbean, so forecast tracks over the next day or two will be dependent on what Matthew does.
More about Hurricane matthew, category 4, jamaica on alert, wind intensity, Track
 
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