MATTHEW headed for Cuba

Tuesday 4th October 2016 - evening edition

The butcher's bill for MATTHEW passing over Haiti won't be known for some time but southern Haiti has effectively been cut off after the bridge linking it to the capital, Port-au-Prince, collapsed. The deputy mayor of the southern coastal town of Les Cayes described the scene there as "catastrophic" and said that the city of 70,000 people was flooded and many houses had lost roofs. Unsurprisingly, hurricane MATTHEW weakened slightly as it briefly made a landfall in western Haiti. The eye quickly regained its structure and the storm has regained its category four category.

The eye is now centred about 18 miles south of the eastern tip of Cuba and is northbound at 8 knots, accelerating slightly. This has produced a huge amount of rain and amounts between 25 and 40 inches are expected in places. A significant height of storm surge is also expected. In a worst case wind-over-tide scenario, a surge of up to ten feet is expected along the coast of Haiti and Cuba and as much as fifteen feet in the Bahamas. MATTHEW has a current hurricane severity rating of 30 out of a possible 50 points (14 for size and 16 for intensity) with wind speeds of 140 knots and tropical storm strength winds across a radius of 200 miles.

The eye may have passed but the effects will be widespread. This track is not encountering any significant land mass as it pushes north and as a result, MATTHEW will continue to be a strong category four hurricane across and past Cuba, and into the Bahamas. There is still no clarity on proximity to or landfall on the eastern seaboard but it is expected that the centre of MATTHEW will at the very least pass very close to the east coast of Florida on Thursday and Friday. Stand to across Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas.