Matthew has intensified into a major hurricane.
The National Hurricane Centre in Miami upgraded it to a Category Three system at 10 this morning. Hurricane Matthew has intensified rapidly over the past 24 hours.
This time yesterday, it was still a Tropical Storm. It’s now packing winds of 185 kilometres per hour, with higher gusts.
The hurricane is now 800 kilometres southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. It’s moving west southwest at 19 kilometres per hour, but is expected to slow down later today and tonight. It’s also expected to turn north towards Jamaica early on Sunday.
Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 55 kilometres from the centre, while Tropical Storm force winds can be felt up to 315 kilometres away.
A Hurricane Watch may be necessary for Jamaica as early as tonight. A Hurricane Watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated onset of Tropical Storm force winds.
Here’s more from the Weather Channel.
Meanwhile, Senior Forecaster at the National Meteorological Service, Lawrence Brown, says the entire country should prepare for Hurricane Matthew.
He says a category three hurricane can bring significant damage across the island.
Mr. Brown says the fact that Matthew is slowing down represents a worst case scenario for Jamaica, as the system has more time to strengthen and could linger over the island with devastating effects.
Brown says the conditions are conducive for Matthew to intensify further.