Matthew is currently on a westerly path, but is projected to take a sharp northerly turn towards the south east of Jamaica.
MIAMI, Sept. 28 (UPI) — Tropical Storm Matthew has formed in the Windward Islands and is expected to strengthen into a Category 2 hurricane over the Caribbean before turning north for a possible direct hit on Jamaica by Monday.
The National Hurricane Center issued the first advisory on Matthew late Wednesday morning after the storm rapidly gained strength. Now packing 60 mph winds and gusts up to 70 mph, Matthew is moving west northwest at 20 mph.
Tropical Storm Matthew expected to be a hurricane by Friday, hit Jamaica on Monday https://t.co/nXbB7andig
— Delano Seiveright (@DelanoSeiv) September 28, 2016
Tropical storm warnings have been issued for the Windward Islands chain, with Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominica and St. Lucia expected to bear the brunt of Matthew’s winds and rain because they are on the storm’s front, right side – the strongest section of a tropical cyclone.
Barbados has been the first to experience the storm’s effects early Wednesday morning with strong winds and pockets of heavy rain.Surface winds of 60 mph were reported just east of Martinique mid-day, with the center of the storm just southeast of St. Lucia.
Matthew is expected to become a hurricane by Friday as it slows down over warm waters in the Caribbean. The current forecast track consensus gives the storm an abrupt turn to the north-northwest late Friday and Saturday, potentially putting Jamaica and Cuba into the sights of a Category 2 storm with 105 mph winds and stronger gusts by Monday.
Jamaica has been lucky to beat most of these forecasts of direct hits in the past. Let us hope the trend continues.