Jamaica on ‘high alert’ as Hurricane Matthew heads toward island

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 (UPI) — The Jamaican government is on “high alert” as Hurricane Matthew, a strong category 4 storm, heads toward the island nation.

The storm, currently located about 380 miles south of Port Au Prince, Haiti, could impact Jamaica and HispaƱola as early as Sunday night. More than 2,000 people in Jamaica have been moved to shelters.

Hurricane Matthew was downgraded to a category 4 hurricane after briefly strengthening to a category 5 while traveling through the Caribbean late Friday night.

The 2 p.m. update showed sustained wins of 140 mph, slightly weaker than a category 5, which has minimum sustained winds at 157 mph.

“Some fluctuations in intensity are possible during the next couple of days, but Matthew is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through Monday,” the National Hurricane Center said.

Matthew’s current tracks range from making initial land fall on the Atlantic coast of the United States to possibly remaining a few hundred miles off shore, according to AccuWeather.

“If Matthew moves swiftly, it has a greater chance of causing significant impact from rain, wind and flooding along much of the Atlantic coast,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said. “On the other hand, if Matthew’s forward speed slows, it could still have significant impact on the Atlantic coast, but in a much smaller area, when compared to a fast-moving hurricane.”

Matthew’s path will become more apparent after it emerges past Cuba late next week.

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