At least one person has died since Hurricane Matthew began and became a Category 5 Storm late Friday as it passed through the Caribbean Sea and is expected to reach Jamaica as early as Monday, the Associated Press Reported.
According to The U.S. National Hurricane Center, Matthew is now the most powerful hurricane in the Atlantic since Hurricane Felix in 2007.
Jamaica began preparing for the storm, which its effects may be felt beginning Saturday, and activated its National Emergency Operations Center, the AP report said.
Matthew reached wind speeds of 160 mph (260 kph), almost exceeding those of Hurricane Gilbert – Jamaica’s worst worst storm that hit the country in September 1988.
“Hurricane Matthew could rival or possibly exceed Gilbert if the core of the strongest winds does actually move over Jamaica,” Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist and spokesman for the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, told the AP.
“There is no certainty of that at this point.”
The capital of Jamaica, Kingston, may experience flooding and Haiti’s southwest coast was put on under a tropical storm watch.
As of 11 p.m. EDT, Matthew was about 80 miles northwest of Colombia and 440 miles southeast of Kingston.
In its path the storm brought high tides and a strong rainfall to Colombia, which made officials declare an alert after local TV reports of major flooding in coastal areas.
The only reported death from the tropical storm since it hit the Caribbean Wednesday was a 16-year-old by who was killed when a boulder crushed him, officials said.
Matthew strenthened rapidly, and was quickly upgraded to a Category-4 storm earlier Friday.
— NWS Eastern Region (@NWSEastern) September 30, 2016