Hurricane Matthew worries many with ties to Caribbean

Crystal Clark reporting

- Despite Tampa Bay being relatively out of the path of Hurricane Matthew, the destructive storm has local residents with ties to the Caribbean islands on edge.

Teeka Green, a student at the University of South Florida, considers Jamaica to be one of her homes. Green has not put her phone down in days, in order to stay in contact with her mother and other relatives on the island.

"I'm texting my mom every hour, just checking in, seeing the progression of the storm," said Green.

Green and other members of 'True Colors Caribbean' in Tampa sent a barrel and several boxes filled with non-perishable food items to relatives in Jamaica days ago.

She said her family and others have been preparing for the storm as quickly as possible, even relocating from Kingston to Montego Bay for safety.

"I know she's stocking up on water, all the essentials," said Green, "and they cooked two days ahead, so they've got some food prepared and stuff. In that aspect, they're a little bit more prepared."

The island, and its weak drainage system, was unable to prepare for the downpour that hit in advance of the storm on Monday, and the additional rainfall expected as Matthew passes.

"There's no area for the rain to rush off or go. The rivers would just overflow, so everything is just going to be leveled as far as the water goes," said Green.

Residents in Haiti experienced similar problems in flood-prone areas.

Haiti's president has warned residents to listen to authorities if they are told to evacuate from areas that could see deadly flooding and mudslides.

The hurricane is expected to be destructive in Cuba as well, where many homes are thought to be unable to withstand strong hurricane-force winds.

Green said during Hurricane Felix in 2007, her uncle's home was destroyed, and many residents had to rebuild.

She is hopeful that Hurricane Matthew will not be as destructive.

"Honestly, right now we're just praying. Praying that it gets better. Praying that it diverts in some way, shape or form," said Green.

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