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  HOME | Caribbean

Matthew Downgraded to Category 4 as It Moves toward Jamaica

WASHINGTON Ė Matthew has lost some strength but remains an extremely powerful Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 250 kph (155 mph) as it moves across the Caribbean toward Jamaica, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said on Saturday.

In an 8:00 a.m. (1200 GMT) advisory, the NHC said Matthew was moving west at 11 kilometers (seven miles) per hour.

It said the eye of the hurricane was located 585 kilometers (365 miles) south of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and 645 kilometers (400 miles) southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.

Matthew, which had strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane Friday night, the highest level on the Saffir-Simpson scale, is the most powerful storm in the Atlantic since Felix, which caused more than 130 deaths when it battered Nicaragua in 2007.

In its latest advisory, the NHC said a hurricane watch was in effect for Jamaica and a tropical storm warning was in effect for a stretch of Colombiaís coast from the border with Venezuela to the city of Riohacha.

A tropical storm watch is also in effect from Port-au-Prince to Haitiís southern border with the Dominican Republic.

The hurricane is projected to turn toward the west-northwest on Saturday and then toward the north-northwest on Sunday.

Based on the forecast track, the eye of the hurricane will move away from the Guajira peninsula (shared by Colombia and Venezuela) Saturday morning, continue to pass over the central Caribbean Sea on Saturday and Sunday and approach Jamaica between Sunday night and Monday.

That small Caribbean island is on maximum alert and people are stocking up on supplies in preparation for the powerful stormís arrival.

 

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