FORCE OF NATURE

Powerful Hurricane Matthew Barrels Toward Jamaica

Hurricane Matthew was downgraded on Saturday to a Category 4 storm, but forecasters warned it would still be strong enough to tear homes apart as it heads for Jamaica. The storm, with hinds as high as 155 miles per hour, is set to become the strongest hurricane to hit the Atlantic since 2007. The U.S. National Hurricane Center has warned that Matthew will be reaching Jamaica on Sunday night, though Jamaican authorities said they expect the effects to be felt on Saturday. Evan Thompson, the director of Jamaica's National Meteorological Service, said authorities are taking the storm very seriously and “we are all on high alert.” The prime minister’s office said disaster coordinators, police and soldiers were on standby, with shelters being opened for when the storm hits. The hurricane is expected to hit the country’s southern coast, where the capital, Kingston, is located. The hurricane is also expected to hit Cuba and Haiti, and meteorologists in the U.S. are closely monitoring the storm to determine the impact it may have on the East Coast early next week.