State Department warns U.S. citizens in The Bahamas, Haiti and Jamaica to leave ahead of Hurricane Matthew

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens about the approach of Hurricane Matthew.

The National Hurricane Center reports that Hurricane Matthew is headed for The Bahamas where a hurricane watch has been issued. A hurricane warning is in effect for parts of Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica.  A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours. Hurricane storm conditions in terms of wind are expected to reach the area by October 5.  U.S. citizens residing and traveling in coastal areas in this region should be alert to flooding.

Given the approaching hurricane, there is limited time available for a safe departure. The Department of State has authorized family members of U.S. government employees to depart The Bahamas in advance of Hurricane Matthew.  We recommend U.S. citizens depart The Bahamas if possible and work with commercial air carriers to leave prior to the arrival of the hurricane.  Airports will close once conditions deteriorate and safe travel is not possible.  We recommend those citizens who are unable to depart to shelter in place in a secure location.

Travelers should apprise family and friends in the United States of their whereabouts, and keep in close contact with their tour operator, hotel staff, and local officials for evacuation instructions. Travelers should also protect their travel and identity documents against loss or damage, as the need to replace lost documentation could hamper or delay return to the United States.

Guantanamo Bay employees evacuated

The United States is moving 700 employees and their families from its naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Sunday. Military planes were to airlift people from the base to cities in Florida. Family pets will join the mandatory evacuations, base officials said.

Those getting evacuated are mostly nonessential personnel. There are 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.

It’s unclear when the evacuees will be brought back, officials said.