80ºF

Jamaicans seek shelter, take precautions as Hurricane Matthew threatens island

Hurricane Matthew remains Category 4 storm Monday

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The outer bands of Hurricane Matthew turned roads into rivers Monday in Kingston, Jamaica, and even caused some people to evacuate their homes.

Allen Douglas, 57, woke up Monday morning in a shelter.

"How are you doing?" Local 10 News reporter Ben Kennedy asked Douglas.

"I'm OK. (I) feel safer here than down there," Douglas said.

Jamaica's prime minister, Andrew Holness, said the winds are a big concern, but it's the rain that could cause flash flooding and mudslides.

"This hurricane, by virtue of its trajectory, will have a severe impact on Jamaica," Holness said. "Be prepared. That's the best advice."

Crews in Jamaica cut down tree limbs that could knock over during the storm and cause damage.

"It's like having a sail on a boat with the wind resistance. You are creating more of a threat," Dean Sutherland said as he cut down limbs along the island's coast.

The waves continued picking up on Monday, but it's still unclear how much of an impact Hurricane Matthew will have on Jamaica.

Waves on the eastern side of the country were up to 7 feet high, a scary sight for those who live nearby.

"The path has been very erratic and it's a slow down, which means it will be dumping a lot of water when it finally hits land," Holness said.

Schools across Jamaica have been turned into shelters ahead of the storm.

By Monday night waves were crashing onto the coast, gas stations were closed and people were being taken to higher ground by rescue crews. 

"The waves hit hard," Edward Raymond, a resident being evacuated, said. "I am blessed, more than blessed." 

Downtown Kingston was closed, as the country's military and rescue crews prepare for the Category 4 storm, which is said to be the worst Jamaica has been in years.