PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - The government of Haiti has opened 1,300 emergency shelters as a powerful hurricane heads that way.

Forecasters say Hurricane Matthew could dump two feet or more of rain over southern Haiti, potentially triggering deadly flooding and mudslides.

The impoverished country is particularly vulnerable to devastating floods because of the steep terrain, with hillsides and mountains often devoid of the trees that hold back the water because they have been cut down to make charcoal for cooking fires.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the center of the storm is expected to pass across or very close to the southwestern tip of Haiti late tomorrow before reaching Cuba.

The hurricane earlier had been projected to move closer to Jamaica, but the risk to the island seems to have diminished somewhat.

At 1 p.m. CST the storm was centered about 335 miles south-southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, moving north-northwest at 5 mph. Its maximum sustained winds were 145 mph.