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Haiti, Jamaica under hurricane watch

A hurricane watch has been issued for portions of Haiti, and a similar advisory remains in effect for Jamaica, as Hurricane Matthew approaches.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded Matthew to a Category 4 storm earlier this morning, after it briefly became a powerful Category 5 hurricane last night.

Matthew is located about 365 miles (590 km) south southwest of Haiti, and 390 miles (625 km) southeast of Jamaica, with maximum sustained winds of 145 miles (230 km per hour) per hour.  It is moving towards the west a six miles (nine km) per hour.

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The following is the latest from the NHC.

WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY:

A Hurricane Watch has been issued for the coast of Haiti from the
southern border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St.
Nicholas.

The government of Colombia has discontinued the Tropical Storm
Warning for that country.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...
* Jamaica
* Haiti from the southern border with the Dominican Republic to
Le Mole St. Nicholas

Interests elsewhere in Hispaniola and eastern Cuba should monitor
the progress of Matthew.  A Hurricane Watch could be needed for
portions of eastern Cuba later today.

A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible
within the watch area.  A watch is typically issued 48 hours
before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force
winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or
dangerous.

For storm information specific to your area, please monitor products
issued by your national meteorological service.

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DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
------------------------------
At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Matthew was located
near latitude 13.4 North, longitude 73.4 West.  Matthew is moving
toward the west near 6 mph (9 km/h).  A turn toward the west-
northwest is forecast later today, followed by a turn toward the
north-northwest on Sunday and toward the north on Monday.  On the
forecast track, the center of Matthew will move across the central
Caribbean Sea today and Sunday, and approach Jamaica and
southwestern Haiti Sunday night and Monday.

Data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate
that maximum sustained winds are near 145 mph (230 km/h) with
higher gusts.  Matthew is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-
Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Some fluctuations in intensity are
possible this weekend, but Matthew is expected to remain a powerful
hurricane through Monday.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles (45 km) from the
center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles
(335 km).

The latest minimum central pressure measured by the aircraft was
947 mb (27.97 inches).
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
WIND:  Hurricane conditions are possible in the watch area in
Jamaica and Haiti on Monday, with tropical storm conditions possible
by late Sunday.  Hurricane conditions are possible in eastern Cuba
by Monday night, with tropical storm conditions possible by early
Monday.

RAINFALL:  Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches with isolated higher
amounts are expected over Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao through
Saturday.  Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches with isolated higher
amounts are expected along the coast of Colombia from the Venezuelan
border to Barranquilla.  Rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches with
isolated higher amounts are expected along the coast of Venezuela
from Coro to the Colombian border.

Rainfall totals of 10 to 15 inches with isolated maximum amounts of
25 inches are expected across Jamaica and southern and southwestern
Haiti.  This rainfall could produce life-threatening flash floods
and mud slides.

SURF:  Swells generated by Matthew are expected to affect portions
of the coasts of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Aruba, Bonaire,
Curacao, Venezuela, Colombia, eastern Cuba, and the Caribbean
coastline of Central America during the next few days.  These swells
are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current
conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office.
Source: National Hurricane Center

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