According to the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Hurricane Centre, Matthew has strengthened into a category 2 hurricane. As of 02:00 hours Atlantic Standard Time (AST) (06:00 hours Universal Time Coordinated [UTC]), Matthew was around 125 miles (205 km) north-east of Curacao, and 565 miles (910km) from Kinston Jamaica with sustained winds of 100 mph (155 km/h) and higher gusts and a minimum central pressure of 993 mb (29.32 inches), according to reports from a United States Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft; gradual strengthening is expected over the next 48 hours. NOAA reports indicate that hurricane force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km) from the storm’s centre.
At 200 AM AST (0600 UTC), the centre of Hurricane Matthew was located near latitude 14.1 North, longitude 69.3 West. Matthew is moving toward the west at a speed of near 14 mph (22 km/h). A westward to south-west motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected over the next couple of days.
Tropical Storm Watches for Bonaire have been cancelled, for Curacao, and Aruba remains; a Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area. Coastal areas in Venezuela and Colombia, Jamaica, Hispaniola and east of Cuba in the storm’s path are advised to monitor the progress of Matthew.
Rainfall associated with Matthew will continue to diminish across the Lesser Antilles this evening. Isolated additional rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches are possible over the southern Windward Islands. Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches with isolated higher amounts are expected over Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao through Saturday.
Swells generated by Matthew are expected to affect portions of the coasts of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Venezuela, and Colombia over the next few days. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
The Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) placed its regional response mechanisms on alert, and it is in contact with the national emergency management offices in the affected areas.
Red Cross Actions
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is monitoring the situation and maintains contact with National Societies in the path of the hurricane.
Dominican Red Cross
Radio communications network has been activated
Crisis Management Room has been activated and hurricane’s progress is being monitored
Sent link to National EOC
Dissemination of information to branches and partners
Pre-positioning water, sanitation and hygiene promotion (WASH), psychosocial support (PSS), and Restoring Family Links (RFL) and health teams in at-risk areas
Haiti Red Cross
Meeting with Civil Protection
Alerted all of its regional branches to make volunteers available
Sensitized the community on the possible impact of the hurricane
Mobilizing volunteers to perform an assessment in case of an impact
St. Lucia Red Cross
Attended meeting with NEMO
All volunteers and standard operating procedures activated
Information is currently being received and updated from all the Red Cross branches and units.
Constant updates in social media.