By Ernesto Cooke
St Vincent and the Grenadines is now under Tropical Storm warning.At 1100 AM AST (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Matthew was located near latitude 13.4 North, longitude 60.7 West or ABOUT 35 MI…55 KM ENE OF ST. VINCENT.
Matthew is moving toward the west near 21 mph (33 km/h).
A westward motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected during the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the center of Matthew will move through the Windward Islands during the next couple of hours, and move over the eastern Caribbean Sea through Friday.
Reports from an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (95 km/h) with higher gusts.
Gradual strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Matthew could become a hurricane by Friday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles (335 km) primarily to the northeast of the center.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 1008 mb (29.77 inches).
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND ———————- WIND: Tropical storm conditions are expected to spread over the southern Leeward Islands and northern Windward Islands witin the next few hours and continue into this evening.
RAINFALL: Matthew is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches across the Windward Islands and southern portions of the Leeward Islands through Thursday. These rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. Rainfall totals of 1 to 2 inches are expected farther to the north into the northern Leeward Islands, including the United States and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.