At 500 PM EDT (2100 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Matthew was located near latitude 13.5 North, longitude 71.6 West. Matthew is moving toward the west-southwest near 9 mph (15 km/h).
On the forecast track, the center of Matthew will move north of the Guajira Peninsula this tonight, move across the central Caribbean Sea on Saturday, and be near Jamaica on Sunday. Data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 140 mph (220 km/h) with higher gusts.
Jamaica Meteorological Service last evening suggested that Hurricane Matthew will not spare the island as it moves into the central Caribbean after dumping heavy showers on eastern Caribbean countries and causing at least one death.
Met Service Director Evan Thompson made the projection at an emergency meeting with local officials called by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who said government services have been placed on high alert.
Yesterday, fishers on Jamaica’s cays and banks were advised to evacuate immediately and return to the mainland.
Other small craft operators in the island’s coastal waters were also told to return to port, while those in port were advised not to venture out.
Matthew is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir- Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some additional strengthening is possible tonight, and some fluctuations in intensity are possible Saturday and Sunday. Matthew is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through Sunday.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles (315 km).
The latest minimum central pressure based on data from the NOAA aircraft is 949 mb (28.03 inches).