KINGSTON, Jamaica — One of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recent history weakened a little Saturday as it drenched coastal Colombia and roared across the Caribbean on a course that threatened Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba.

Matthew briefly reached the top hurricane classification, Category 5, and was the strongest Atlantic hurricane since Felix in 2007.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Matthew’s winds had slipped from a peak of 160 mph to a still-potentially devastating 140 mph and it was expected to near Jamaica and southwestern Haiti early Monday.

The forecast track would carry it across Cuba and into the Bahamas, with an outside chance of a brush with Florida, though that would be several days away.

“It’s too early to rule out what impacts, if any, would occur in the United States and Florida,” said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman at the Hurricane Center.

As Matthew skimmed past the northern tip of South America, there were reports of heavy flooding and at least one death – the second attributed to the storm.

Authorities said at least 18 houses were damaged along the La Guajira peninsula of Colombia, which has been suffering from a multi-year drought. They said a 67-year-old man was swept to his death by a flash flood in an area where it hadn’t rained for four years.

Local TV broadcast images of cars and tree trunks surging though flooded streets in coastal areas.

Colombian authorities closed access to beaches and urged residents living near the ocean to move inland in preparation for storm surges that they said would be most intense Saturday.

There was also concern that heavy rain across much of the country could dampen turnout for Sunday’s nationwide referendum on a historic peace accord between the government and leftist rebels.

In Jamaica, high surf began pounding the coast and flooding temporarily closed the road linking the capital of Kingston to its airport. Carl Ferguson, head of the marine police, said people were starting to heed calls to relocate from small islands and areas near rural waterways.

Residents of Kingston crowded supermarkets to buy bottled water, canned food and batteries, and there was already flooding in the coastal town of Port Royal.