Category 4 storm hurricane Matthew has left in its wake catastrophic damage as it pounded Cuba on Tuesday night after drenching Haiti and leaving behind flooded streets, broken trees and 7 people dead. There are fears that more people will die as the hurricane continues to hurl towards the Bahamas, where it is expected to arrive on Wednesday night at a speed of 125 mph. It will linger in Bahamas and residents there will be expected to deal with the storm on Wednesday night and the whole of Thursday. Jeff Zimmer, with SKO construction, a Florida disaster recovery company said “We’ve been fielding calls by the dozen per hour, property owners are beginning to realize the potential magnitude of this storm system”.
There was a lot of damage in Haiti, especially in Southern Haiti where the heavy rains caused waterways to swell and overflow into the streets. Many walls of buildings have been damaged and the strong winds tore off roofs from many houses. The bridge connecting Port-au-Prince to Southern Haiti collapsed under the torrential rains, which in effect hampered relief efforts. Aid efforts have been further hampered by broken communication as communication towers have been affected by the trees that have been falling on them.
Four governors along the East Coast of the US have declared a state of emergency and put out warnings for residents in those states to prepare for the worst. Residents have been told that they could possibly be evacuated in case their states take a direct hit from the raging storm. Even though it is expected that the winds will lose some of its strength as it heads to the United States, it will still be strong at 115km/h. This is still strong enough for residents along coastal towns to be on high alert due to the massive damage that such strong winds can cause.
In preparation for the storm that will most likely hit Guantanamo Bay, Florida, the US government has airlifted over 700 family members of military service men based in this coastal state. However, the 61 detainees that are held in detention in this town will not be airlifted.
A common sign through all the countries and towns that Hurricane Matthew has passed through is people wading through inches of water, with the water levels reaching up to the shoulders as people walk through it to get to safer grounds.
Usually, when Hurricanes turn out to be particularly destructive, their names are usually retired. Given the fatal effect that this Hurricane has had through all the countries it has gone through, it is expected that this is the last Hurricane that will ever be called Matthew.
Hurricane Matthew started off as a tropical wave off the West African coast on 22nd September, which later developed into a tropical storm as it moved westward. It then became a hurricane while it was on the west of the Leeward Islands and it strengthened to become a category 5 hurricane. By October 1st, it had weakened to a category 4 hurricane at a speed of 220kn/h but it later on gathered strength and it currently has a speed of 240km/h (by 5th October).