HAVANA TIMES — The center of monster hurricane Matthew is now predicted to reach far eastern Cuba by sometime Tuesday afternoon/evening, reports the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami.
During the early hours of Monday, Matthew continued its path north at only 6 mph, with authorities in Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba scrambling to be as prepared as possible.
The category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale now packs maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, a slight drop from Sunday, with stronger gusts. The storm also carries abundant rainfall in its path.
At 6am on Monday the Cuban Weather Service (Insmet) located the center of Matthew at 335 miles south of Santiago de Cuba, 325 south of Guantanamo province and 227 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.
Insmet reported that winds of tropical storm strength will begin to be felt in southeastern Cuba by late Monday night while rainfall will gradually increase. Strong sea surges can be expected on both coasts with coastal flooding on the south coast of Guantanamo.
Meanwhile, the NHC warns that Matthew will bring eastern Cuba 8 to 12 inches of rain with up to 20 inches in some isolated areas. It further notes that Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles.
The NHC says southern Haiti will likely receive between 15 and 25 inches of rain with up to 40 inches in some isolated areas. Eastern Jamaica is now expected to receive between 5 and 10 inches of rainfall.
This rainfall in the affected countries will likely produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, warned the NHC.