Tuesday 26 September 2017

'They're getting everything a major hurricane can throw at them' - deadly Hurricane Matthew slams into Haiti with 145mph winds

The road surface on Industrial Terrace is seen washed away due to the rain in Kingston, Jamaica before the passage of Hurricane Matthew on October 3, 2016
The road surface on Industrial Terrace is seen washed away due to the rain in Kingston, Jamaica before the passage of Hurricane Matthew on October 3, 2016
Hurricane Matthew is gathering force
Hurricane Matthew has left one person dead and another missing in Haiti, officials said Monday, as it churns through the Caribbean as the worst storm in nearly a decade.

David McFadden and Ben Fox

Hurricane Matthew has roared into the south-western coast of Haiti, threatening a largely rural corner of the impoverished nation with devastating storm conditions.

The dangerous category four storm made landfall around dawn local time on Haiti's southern peninsula, where many people live along the coast in shacks of wood and corrugated steel that stand little chance of withstanding the force of the system's maximum sustained winds of 145mph.

Hurricane Matthew is gathering force
Hurricane Matthew is gathering force

Matthew is also expected to bring 15-25in of rain, and up to 40in in isolated places, along with a 10ft storm surge and battering waves.

Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist and spokesman for the US National Hurricane Centre in Miami, said: "They are getting everything a major hurricane can throw at them."

People stand on the coast watching the surf produced by Hurricane Matthew, on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
People stand on the coast watching the surf produced by Hurricane Matthew, on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
Residents stand in a Church after been evacuate prior the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, in Tabarre, Haiti, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
People stand on the coast watching the surf produced by Hurricane Matthew, on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
People buy goods on the street while Hurricane Matthew approaches Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A couple enjoy the view while Hurricane Matthew approaches Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 3, 2016. The text reads, "House for sale". REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A general view of Kingston is seen while Hurricane Matthew approaches, in Jamaica October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
A general view while Hurricane Matthew approaches Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Jailene Albian, 18 (L), takes care of her six month old son together with her cousin Malbel Negrada, 41, in a shelter at the University of Guantanamo ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Guantanamo, Cuba, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
A woman protects herself from rain with an umbrella ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
A man poses for a picture on a wall next to the sea ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
A boy walks along a pier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
A man films the sea with his cell phone next to an old pier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
Three people protect themselves from rain with an umbrella as they ride a motorbike ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
A man takes pictures on an old pier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
Two women protect themselves from rain with an umbrella ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
A man takes pictures on an old pier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
Residents are seen along a pier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

The storm is moving along the Windward Passage between Haiti and Jamaica, where it is also dumping heavy rain that has caused flooding in parts of the country. It is heading for south-eastern Cuba and then into the Bahamas.

The hurricane centre said it is likely to issue a tropical storm watch or hurricane watch for the Florida Keys or the Florida peninsula, as Matthew could create dangerous beach conditions along the US east coast later in the week.

Hurricane Matthew has left one person dead and another missing in Haiti, officials said Monday, as it churns through the Caribbean as the worst storm in nearly a decade.
Hurricane Matthew has left one person dead and another missing in Haiti, officials said Monday, as it churns through the Caribbean as the worst storm in nearly a decade.

As dawn broke in Haiti, people in the south coast tourist town of Port Salut described howling winds and big waves slamming on to the beaches and washing over the coastal road.

"The winds are making so many bad noises. We're just doing our best to stay calm," said resident Jenniflore Desrosiers as she huddled with her family in her fragile home, which has sprung numerous leaks from pelting rain.

Haiti's civil protection office said a number of south coast towns partially flooded overnight. Landslides and downed trees on roads are preventing movement in numerous areas. The few places that are on the electrical grid have apparently lost power and mobile phone service is patchy.

Haitian officials had spent Monday trying to persuade shanty town residents to take advantage of shelters being set up. But many had refused to leave their homes, saying they feared their meagre possessions might be stolen.

Cuba's government has declared a hurricane alert for six eastern provinces and workers have removed traffic lights from poles in the city of Santiago to stop them falling as the winds hit.

At one point a category five storm, and the region's strongest hurricane since Felix in 2007, Matthew is expected to make landfall in Cuba about 50 miles east of the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, where authorities have evacuated about 700 spouses and children of service members.

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