Hurricane Matthew has strengthened into a Category 4 on October 1, with winds reaching up to 145mph, making its way towards Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba, forecasters say.
Matthew is the strongest Hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean since Felix back in 2007.
According to the US National Hurricane Center, the storm is expected to hit Haiti and Jamaica on October 3.
Image source Wikipedia
Haiti has begun evacuating residents from high-risk areas.
Residents have been frantically stocking up on emergency supplies.
Jamaica’s PM Andrew Holness has urged citizens to make all preparations before it is too late.
However, he told Reuters that Jamaica was prepared for the category 4 hurricane.
In Jamaica, the powerful storm is expected to bring up to 25 inches of rain, which could trigger life-threatening landslides and floods, according to forecasters.
In the capital Kingston, supermarkets were crowded with people looking for canned foods, water and flashlights.
Officials have warned the high winds could batter the country’s main tourist areas including Montego Bay in the north.
In Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, residents from outlying islands have been evacuated, and officials have banned boating.
The hurricane is expected to cause up to 40 inches of rain in Haiti.
Hurricane Matthew is expected to hit Cuba on October 4, potentially hitting the colonial city of Santiago de Cuba and the US Navy base of 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 there was being told to take shelter, the Navy said in a statement.
There are about 5,500 people living on the base, including 61 men held at the detention centre.
Cuban President Raul Castro traveled to Santiago to supervise preparations.
A private jet on a flight from New York to Florida crashed off Jamaica on September 5 after the two people on board apparently lost consciousness.
The Jamaican Defense Force said the plane went down about 14 miles north-east of Port Antonio.
Two F-15 fighter jets were launched from a US base to investigate the aircraft, after it veered from its flight path and was detected over the Caribbean.
The two people known to be on board have been named as Larry Glazer, a property developer from Rochester, New York, and his wife Jane. Larry Glazer was the CEO of Buckingham Properties.
Larry and Jane Glazer were both licensed pilots.
The plane’s pilot had indicated there was a problem and twice asked to descend to a lower altitude before permission was granted, according to a recording of the radio conversation with US traffic controllers.
Contact with the plane was lost a short time later.
Major Basil Jarrett of the Jamaican Defense Force told reporters that an oil slick had been spotted about 14 miles north-east of the coastal town of Port Antonio but there was no sign yet of any wreckage.
He said search and rescue teams were scouring the waters for possible survivors.
Larry and Jane Glazer were both licensed pilots
As darkness fell, Jamaica suspended the search until first light on September 6.
The plane, a Socata TBM-700 built in 2014, took off from Rochester at 08:26 en route to Naples, Florida.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was alerted to the unresponsive plane about an hour into its flight and sent two fighter jets to monitor it.
A spokesman said it was not possible for the fighter pilots to see inside the plane as the windows were frosted or fogged over.
A tweet from NORAD suggested the pilot or pilots could have been be unresponsive due to “possible hypoxia” – oxygen deprivation.
On a recording made by LiveATC – a website that monitors air traffic control recordings – and quoted by the Associated Press, the pilot can be heard saying: “We need to descend to about (18,000 feet). We have an indication that’s not correct in the plane.”
A controller replies: “Stand by.”
After a pause, the controller tells the pilot to fly at 25,000ft.
“We need to get lower,” the pilot responded.
“Working on that,” the controller says.
Controllers then clear the plane to descend to 20,000ft and the pilot acknowledges the command.
Minutes later a controller asks the plane to identify itself. There is no response.
According to FlightAware, the plane never carried out the last descent to 20,000ft.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo paid tribute to the couple.
“The Glazers were innovative and generous people who were committed to revitalising downtown Rochester,” he said.
The couple’s three children said in a statement they were “devastated”.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said it co-operated with Cuba air traffic control in monitoring the plane, despite the countries not having full diplomatic relations for more than half a century.
Cuba said it had authorized the US military to fly a C-130 cargo plane and two fighter jets over its airspace to investigate the incident.
Vybz Kartel has been found guilty of murder in a high-profile trial in Jamaica.
The popular dancehall and reggae star and three co-defendants were convicted under tight security of killing an associate, Clive Lizard Williams, in a row over a missing gun.
Parts of the capital Kingston were cordoned off in advance of the verdict and police patrols were stepped up.
Vybz Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, is one of the biggest names in Jamaican dancehall reggae.
The “World Boss” as he called himself also often glorified violence in his music.
The 65-day trial was the longest running criminal hearing in the history of Jamaica’s circuit court system, local media reported.
Vybz Kartel has been found guilty of murder in a high-profile trial in Jamaica
Police cordoned off streets around the Supreme Court before Thursday’s session started, seeking to prevent any disruption by fans supporting the entertainer.
Shortly before the jury started to deliberate in the afternoon, about 200 people briefly broke through barricades at one intersection shouting “Free Kartel!”
The sentencing date is scheduled for March 27 and Vybz Kartel’s lawyers have indicated they will appeal against the verdict.
When Vybz Kartel was arrested in 2011, it was alleged he had been involved in two killings, but one of those cases was thrown out last year after key evidence went missing.
Prosecutors said that Clive Lizard Williams was beaten to death at Vybz Kartel’s home in August 2011 after being lured there to account for two missing illegal guns.
A body has never been found but police testified that they had unearthed a text message from Vybz Kartel’s phone saying Clive Lizard Williams had been chopped up to “mincemeat” so fine that his remains would never be found.
Defense lawyer Tom Tavares-Finson told jurors the prosecution’s case against Vybz Kartel was “dishonest” and “incompetent”, noting that witness statements and a compact disc with evidence saved on it had gone missing.
The AP news agency says that in a bizarre twist to the case, a male juror was arrested on Thursday evening on charges of attempting to bribe the jury foreman to free Vybz Kartel, who was convicted by a 10-1 majority verdict.