Caribbean Prepares to Be Slammed by Hurricane Matthew

The GOES East satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016 at 2:45 p.m. EDT, shows Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean Sea about 190 miles northeast of Curacao. Matthew, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recent history, weakened a little on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, as it drenched coastal Colombia and roared across the Caribbean on a course that still puts Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba in the path of potentially devastating winds and rain. (NOAA via AP)

(ABC News) — Matthew remained a powerful Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph as of Sunday morning, with residents of Jamaica, Haiti, and Cuba stocking up on emergency supplies as they prepare to be slammed by the powerful storm beginning on Monday.

“While Hurricane Matthew has a very intense wind field near the eye of the storm, the storm is expected to bring a tremendous amount of rainfall -– especially east of the storm in Haiti,” says ABC News meteorologist Daniel Manzo. “This will cause life threatening flash flooding and mudslides.”

Manzo adds that it is too early to tell if the U.S. will be threatened by Matthew.

Hurricane warnings are currently in effect for Jamaica, Haiti and the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Granma, and Las Tunas.

A hurricane watch is in effect for the Turks and Caicos, the Cuban province of Camaguey, and the southeastern Bahamas, including the Imagoes, Mayaguana, Acklins.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Dominican Republic, from Barahona on the southern coast, westward to the the country’s border with Haiti. And a tropical storm watch is in effect from Puerto Plata in the north, westward to the border with Haiti.

Matthew is one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recent history and briefly strengthened to a Category 5 during the early hours of Saturday.

Matthew potentially may make a direct hit on the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay.

A mandatory evacuation of non-essential personnel, including about 700 family members of military personnel, was underway at the base and everyone remaining behind was being told to take shelter, spokeswoman Julie Ann Ripley told The Associated Press. There are about 5,500 people living on the base, including 61 men held at the detention center.

Throughout the Caribbean, particularly in Jamaica, residents are heading to supermarkets to stock up on bottled water, batteries, flashlights and gas lamps. Many business owners are also boarding up their shops with plywood.

“It has been chaos from the morning,” Melain Azan, the owner of the Azan Super Centre in Kingston, Jamaica, told The AP. Azan said kerosene had already sold out, while other basic necessities were being scooped up by shoppers.

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