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Hurricane Matthew A Threat To Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba


A senior government official in Jamaica says people in flood-prone areas of the country are refusing to leave their homes as the outer bands of Hurricane Matthew bring heavy rain and some flooding to parts of the island.

Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie says one such area is Port Royal near the now-closed international airport in Kingston. McKenzie says the government ordered the area evacuated and sent two buses to help people move. But he says only two adults and two children boarded the bus. Others in the neighborhood wanted to stay and protect their homes.

The center of Hurricane Matthew was expected to pass to the east of Jamaica on Tuesday.

Already, many streets have flooded in low-lying areas. Police say there have been no casualties reported so far, but two men were arrested for looting in Kingston.

Matthew is slowly churning northward across the Caribbean.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says the dangerous Category 4 storm has top sustained winds near 130 mph (215 kph).

A 2 a.m. hurricane center update said the eye of Matthew is about 310 miles (500 kilometers) southwest of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, and about 245 miles (395 kilometers) south-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. The storm is moving to the north at 5 mph (7 kph).

A hurricane warning is in effect for Jamaica, Haiti, and the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Granma and Las Tunas - as well as the southeastern Bahamas. A hurricane watch is in effect for the Cuban province of Camaguey, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Central Bahamas.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Dominican Republic from Barahona wes tward to the border with Haiti and a tropical storm watch is in effect for the Dominican Republic from Puerto Plata west to the border with Haiti.

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