Major Hurricane Matthew A Threat To Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The Latest on Hurricane Matthew (all times local):
Major Hurricane Matthew is slowly churning northward across the Caribbean and meteorologists say the powerful storm is expected to approach Jamaica and southwest Haiti by Monday night.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says the dangerous Category 4 storm has top sustained winds near 130 mph (215 kph).
A 2 a.m. hurricane center update said the eye of Matthew is about 310 miles (500 kilometers) southwest of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, and about 245 miles (395 kilometers) south-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. The storm is moving to the north at 5 mph (7 kph).
A hurricane warning is in effect for Jamaica, Haiti, and the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Granma and Las Tunas — as well as the southeastern Bahamas. A hurricane watch is in effect for the Cuban province of Camaguey, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Central Bahamas.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Dominican Republic from Barahona westward to the border with Haiti and a tropical storm watch is in effect for the Dominican Republic from Puerto Plata west to the border with Haiti.
Vulnerable Haiti braced for flash floods and violent winds from the extremely dangerous Hurricane Matthew as the powerful storm kept on a path early Monday aiming at the hemisphere's poorest country.
The eye of the approaching Category 4 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph (230 kph) late Sunday, was expected to pass to the east of Jamaica and then cross over or be very close to the southwestern tip of Haiti late Monday or early Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said. It was predicted to hit the lightly populated eastern tip of Cuba on Tuesday afternoon.
A hurricane warning was in effect for Haiti, and Cuba. Rain was already lashing parts of Jamaica and flooding some homes, but forecasters said the southern Haitian countryside around Jeremie and Les Cayes could see the worst of the rains and punishing winds.
Matthew is one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recent history and briefly reached the top classification, Category 5, becoming the strongest hurricane in the region since Felix in 2007. The hurricane center said the storm appeared to be on track to pass east of Florida through the Bahamas, but it was too soon to predict with certainty whether it would threaten any spot on the U.S. East Coast.
[STORY BY: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS]