Travel Alert: Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas Brace for Impact by Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew 2016

If Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba or the Bahamas are in your travel plans over the next few days, you may want to consider delaying your travel — or, at least, keep yourself updated as to the latest information pertaining to the weather.

Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas Brace for Impact by Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew 2016
The southern portions of Jamaica and Haiti are outlined with a thin purple line at the top of this graphic. Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

Hurricane Matthew is currently heading in a westerly direction at seven miles per hour as a Category 5 hurricane but is predicted to turn to the north over the next couple of days and weaken to a Category 3 hurricane before the impact upon Jamaica is expected to occur sometime on Monday. Despite the forecast weakened status, the effects of the powerful storm could be potentially devastating, with dangerous seas, up to ten inches of torrential rains, damaging sustained winds of 80 miles per hour with gusts greater than 100 miles per hour, flash flooding, mudslides, and an inundating storm surge of up to ten feet.

Even if Hurricane Matthew aims for eastern Jamaica and misses western Haiti, the effects could still very well be substantially damaging to Haiti, as it would be on the more dangerous eastern side of the storm. Eastern Cuba and the Bahamas are expected to be impacted by Hurricane Matthew as a Category 2 storm by Tuesday and Wednesday respectively; and the southeastern coast of the United States could experience heavy storm surges and rough seas beginning around that time as well.

The maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour of Hurricane Matthew means that it is a Category 5 hurricane — the highest category on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale and the first Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean basin since Hurricane Felix in 2007.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to anywhere in Jamaica, western Haiti, eastern Cuba or the Bahamas over the next week or so, expect delays and cancellations. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to these tropical systems which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight will most likely be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. If you are driving in any of these areas, watch out for deteriorating weather conditions and traffic problems.

Here are four airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of Hurricane Matthew:

  • Delta Air Lines currently has an alert for travel to Kingston and Montego Bay between Sunday, October 2, 2016 through Tuesday, October 4, 2016 where your ticket must be reissued on or prior to — and rebooked travel must begin no later than — Friday, October 7, 2016.
  • American Airlines has more extensive travel waivers with different travel dates for various destinations in the Bahamas, Cuba and Jamaica.
  • JetBlue Airways has extensive travel waivers with different travel dates for various destinations in in the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, and Turks and Caicos.
  • Caribbean Airlines currently has an alert for travel to Jamaica and the Bahamas from now through Wednesday, October 5, 2016 with changes permitted through Wednesday, October 12, 2016.
  • At this time, United Airlines has not issued any travel waivers in connection with Hurricane Matthew — but they may already have been added here by the time you read this article.


As you can see, the aforementioned alerts widely vary by airline; so be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

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