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Jamaica braces for Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew is expected to make landfall in Jamaica late Sunday night. This cone model, created Saturday morning, shows the potential for the storm to hover over Jamaica for almost 24 hours between Monday and Tuesday before making landfall in Cuba. (NHC/NOAA)

Hurricane Matthew is expected to make landfall in Jamaica late Sunday night. This cone model, created Saturday morning, shows the potential for the storm to hover over Jamaica for almost 24 hours between Monday and Tuesday before making landfall in Cuba. (NHC/NOAA)

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Jamaicans are bracing for a visit from one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recent history.

Hurricane Matthew, with winds of 155 mph, is roaring across the Caribbean Sea on a course that also puts parts of Haiti and Cuba in danger.

Jamaica is currently under a hurricane watch, which is a 36 hour warning ahead of hurricane conditions that gives residents time to complete storm preparations and leave the area if directed by local officials, according to the NOAA.

High surf began to hit the coast Saturday afternoon as the storm moved closer.

Forecasters warn that the storm is likely to bring heavy rainfall to the eastern tip of Jamaica and to higher elevations, which could trigger life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides.

Between 10 and 15 inches of rain are expected in Jamaica, according to the National Hurricane Center. Isolated areas could see up to 25 inches of rainfall.

Dangerous swells and rip currents are expected throughout the Caribbean as well, according to the NHC.

Matthew is expected to remain a powerful hurricane through Monday, despite being downgraded to Category 4 Saturday morning.

Current predictions say Matthew will make landfall in Jamaica late Sunday night into Monday morning.

A cone model shows Matthew hovering over Jamaica for almost 24 hours between Monday and Tuesday.

The storm is the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic since Felix in 2007, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.