Hurricane Matthew batters Haiti; warnings issued in Florida


Hurricane Matthew, which battered Haiti with heavy rain, winds and storm surge as it made landfall to the west of Les Cayeson on October 4, is expected to pass through the Bahamas and reach the US east coast by Thursday morning (October 6).

Matthew came ashore as a Category 4 storm with hurricane-force winds impacting a radius of up to 40 miles from the eye of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extending as far as 185 miles.

Florida and 66 North Carolina counties have since declared a state of emergency as Matthew, however, there are disagreements over the storm’s future progress.

Catastrophe modelling firm AIR Worldwide believes the system will continue to move north directly impacting the Bahamas tomorrow and threatening the East Coast of the US later in the week.

“Projections beyond the Bahamas remain uncertain. Although some models suggest a strong US mainland impact—perhaps even landfall on Florida—most models show the storm easing eastward as it approaches the United States mainland,” commented Scott Stransky, assistant vice president and principal scientist at AIR Worldwide.

Matthew’s impact on Haiti is expected to be high due the very slow progress of the storm, as well as the low or minimal building regulation enforcement, making it extremely vulnerable to tropical cyclone wind and rain, according to AIR.

Stransky said: “As well as wind damage, significant storm surge is occurring. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast storm surge from 7 to 10 feet in places along the south coast and 3 to 5 feet in the Gulf of Gonave.

“In addition, heavy rainfall is likely to cause life-threatening flash flooding and landslides. Matthew is expected to drop as much as 20 inches of rain on lowlands and up to 40 inches in higher elevations. Because more than 98 percent of the country is deforested and much of the terrain is mountainous, Haiti is highly vulnerable to landslides and mudslides.”

AIR Worldwide, Hurricane Matthew, Bahamas, Haiti, North America, Catastrophe

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