Powerful Hurricane Matthew Surges North
PHOTO: The scope of Hurricane Matthew as of Sunday morning. (Courtesy National Hurricane Center)
One man has died in Colombia as Hurricane Matthew caused heavy rains and high surf in the South American country as it starts to churn north in the Caribbean.
Evacuations have begun in Jamaica, Haiti, parts of Cuba and the United States military base on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Storm shelters have opened in Jamaica as it prepares for its first major hurricane since Hurricane Gilbert slammed the island in 1988.
According to the most current forecasts, the path of Hurricane Matthew will take it over eastern Jamaica and Haiti on Monday. Airports on both islands were still open on Sunday as tourists began to leave.
Some fear the storm might be the most powerful to ever pass across Jamaica.
Matthew is expected to hit Cuba on Tuesday, possibly passing through the the city of Santiago de Cuba and the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay.
According to CNN, the military will move 700 employees and their families from Guantanamo Bay today. Military planes will airlift people from the base in Cuba to various locations in Florida, including Miami, Pensacola and Jacksonville. Family pets will join the mandatory evacuations, base officials said.
There no plans to evacuate the 61 prisoners detained at the facility that holds terror suspects.
"Remaining personnel and their families will be taking shelter in their homes or designated locations," base officials said in a statement.
The lone fatality so far was a 67-year old man in Colombia who was caught in a flash flood due to the heavy rains.
Cruise lines and airlines have been making the appropriate adjustments.
Carnival has continually made changes all weekend and announced more for today’s Oct. 2 departures.
The Carnival Ecstasy, sailing for seven days out of Charleston, S.C., has cancelled calls in Half Moon Cay, Nassau and Freeport and replaced them with a visit to Cozumel, Mexico. That will now be the only port of call on the trip. Additionally, the ship will be sailing one hour earlier in order to stay ahead of the storm.
The Carnival Pride is now going completely north instead of south. Calls to Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Freeport on the seven-day cruise out of Baltimore have been replaced with a trip north with stops in New York City and Saint John, New Brunswick.
The five-day cruise out of Port Canaveral, Fla., on the Carnival Victory will stop in Nassau and Freeport, The Bahamas, respectively on Monday and Tuesday, spend Wednesday at sea and return to Port Canaveral on Thursday.
All other sailings departing on or after Sunday, Oct. 2 continue to operate as scheduled.
Royal Caribbean, which made itinerary changes to the Allure of the Seas and Adventure of the Seas ships on Saturday, announced changes for the Enchantment of the Seas, leaving Miami on Monday, Oct. 3. Both ports of call in the Bahamas have been cancelled in favor of Cozumel on Wednesday, Oct. 5, after a day at sea. The ship will stop at Key West, Fla. on Thursday before returning to Miami on Friday.
And Princess Cruises’ Island Princess will bypass Aruba this week on Wednesday, Oct. 5 and instead make a stop in Grand Cayman on Tuesday, Oct. 4.
As for the airlines, Southwest, American, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit and Fly Jamaica have all issued travel warnings to its customers and said it would waive change fees to certain destinations as the storm continues to develop.
Calls to travel insurance companies are also up. InsureMyTrip is currently reporting a 20 percent spike in calls from travelers, who are requesting information on how to cancel a trip and seeking clarification on travel insurance coverage.
More by Rich Thomaselli
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