Hurricane Matthew continues its steady ascent towards the United States while churning through the Caribbean. This NOAA photo shows the storm — which is widely regarded as one of the most powerful to hit the Atlantic in a decade — as it prepared to strike Haiti. The slow-moving mammoth made landfall on Monday night with winds at 145 mph and could leave catastrophic damage in its wake. Matthew will then likely head into Cuba and then depart in the direction of the U.S. East Coast.
Before landing in Haiti, Matthew killed one person in Colombia, but the effects on Haiti could be even more devastating. Heavy rain currently blankets the country, and isolated accumulations are expected to reach 40 inches in a region where less-than-optimal infrastructure will not bode well. USA Today quotes aid worker John Hasse, who points towards the poor housing conditions in the area: “With wind this strong, it will be extremely damaging and dangerous and homes for the average person are made of mud and sticks or poorly constructed cinderblocks.”
Indeed, the worst may very well happen with 10.6 million Haitians at risk in this life-threatening storm’s path. $400,000 in humanitarian aid has already been released, but chances are, the country will need much more help to recover after the storm’s conclusion. Meanwhile, Florida Governor Rick Scott has already declared a state of emergency to trigger federal aid and urges citizens to prepare now and take the storm seriously. Scott said, “There could be massive destruction which we haven’t seen since Hurricane Andrew devastated Miami-Dade County in 1992.” In North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory is hoping for a false-alarm scenario but admits, “We can’t gamble.”
This graphic shows the storm’s anticipated path for the U.S. East Coast, where Matthew could dominate the whole of next weekend.
Meteorologist Mike Thomas tweeted a radar image of the storm as it landed in Haiti early Monday morning.