HAVANA TIMES — Cuba’s civil defense has put out a hurricane alert for the provinces of Camaguey to Guantanamo as Hurricane Matthew is just over two days away from entering the island, according to current estimates. Jamaica and Haiti are also under serious threat.
The storm is a powerful Category 4 (Saffir-Simpson scale) with maximum sustained winds currently at 150 mph with higher gusts.
At 6:00 pm. Cuban time (EDT), the center of Matthew was located at 465 miles south – southeast of Santiago de Cuba and 445 miles south south-east of the city of Guantanamo. It is currently moving northwest slowly at 6 kph, reported the Cuban Weather Service (Insmet).
During the next 12 hours Matthew is expected to continue on its same path with some fluctuations in intensity, while always remaining a powerful hurricane, said Insmet.
While the danger is greatest for the eastern provinces, those in central Cuba have also been put on warning to closely follow the evolution of the storm.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami notes that Matthew can produce large amounts of rainfall, estimated at 15 to 25 inches or more over southern Haiti and 10 to 20 inches over eastern Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and eastern Cuba. “This rainfall will likely produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.”
The sea surge is expected to be from 7 to 11 feet on the southern coast of Cuba east of Cabo Cruz, and 4 to 6 feet on the north coast east of Camaguey, warned the NHC.