Jamaica: Hurricane Matthew - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) n° MDRJM004


A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

On 27 September 2016, Tropical Storm Matthew began gaining strength in the Caribbean; by September 28, the storm’s wind speeds had reached 60 mph (95 km / h), prompting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Hurricane Centre (NHC) to post an advisory on Tropical Storm Matthew at 15:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) that day on its website. Within hours of the advisory, Matthew had moved toward Saint Lucia and entered the Caribbean Sea. The following day, it veered south-west and became a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with maximum sustained wind speeds at or exceeding 74 mph (119 km/h). On 30 September 2016, Hurricane Matthew became the most powerful hurricane of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, when it reached Category 4 hurricane status, with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph (220 km/h). On 1 October 2016, Matthew briefly became a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds at or exceeding 157 mph (253 km/h) before winds speeds decreased and returned to the Category 4 level.

According to the United States-based The Weather Channel, Matthew is forecasted to curl south-east and then south away from the coastal Carolinas beginning later Sunday, where it is expected to meander off the United States’ southeast coast or near the Bahamas into next week; while it could strike the Bahamas or Florida a second time as a weaker storm system, it will likely not affect Jamaica again. Nevertheless, the erratic hurricane’s storm path remains uncertain at this time, and regional disaster response entities will continue to monitor its progress.