Hurricane Matthew's Track Shifts Again, Still a Threat to SC

A hurricane watch was in effect for Florida from an area just north of Miami Beach to the Volusia-Brevard county line, near Cape Canaveral, which the storm could reach on Thursday, the hurricane centre said.

Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for Florida on Monday, designating resources for evacuations and shelters and putting the National Guard on standby.

Officials in Miami-Dade County, south of the hurricane watch area, had not yet made a decision by 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Even if Matthew doesn't directly hit the eastern United States, huge waves will likely still affect parts of the East Coast, possibly up as far as Canada.

At the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the storm knocked down trees and caused road flooding but no injuries or major damage, said Julie Ripley, a spokeswoman. Matthew is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Emergency relief supplies including shelter materials, blankets, hygiene kits, household items and water purification equipment are available for the communities affected by the storm.

The unsafe category four storm is also dumping heavy rain on other parts of Haiti, the hemisphere's poorest country where many people live in flimsy shacks in areas prone to flooding, and on Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

Hurricane Matthew will be approaching eastern Cuba, where a hurricane alert has been set in place for six eastern provinces.

On Tuesday, Matthew swept across a remote area of Haiti with 145 miles per hour (230 kph) winds, wrecking homes and swamping roads.

Matthew was inflicting major damage, though the extent was not immediately known, said Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, director of the country's Civil Protection Agency.

Many people are reluctant to leave their homes due to fears their belonging will be stolen. Some sought shelter only after the worst was already upon them, making their way through debris-strewn streets amid pounding rain.

"Wherever that center passes close to would see the worst winds and that's what's projected to happen for the western tip of Haiti", US hurricane specialist John Cangilosi said.

"They are getting everything a major hurricane can throw at them", Feltgen said. It is forecast to head slowly north-northwest toward Bermuda before abruptly turning south on Friday, then west on Friday.

Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful Atlantic tropical storm since 2007, continued on a path to land a heavy punch to Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba, forecasters said early Monday.

Authorities also went door-to-door in the south coast cities of Les Cayes and Jeremie to make sure people were aware of the storm's threats. Landslides and downed trees on roadways were preventing movement in numerous areas. The few places that were on the electrical grid had apparently lost power, and cellphone' service was spotty. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said she would issue an evacuation order Wednesday so 1 million people would have time to leave the coast.

"If we lose our things we are not going to get them back!" In an unregulated sprawl of shacks built on hillsides near the northern edge of the capital, some poor families did what they could to reinforce their tin-and-tarp home and hoped for the best.

"What we know is that many, many houses have been damaged".

The fiercest Caribbean storm in nearly a decade ripped into Haiti's southwestern peninsula early on Tuesday with 145 mile-per-hour (230 kph) winds and storm surges that killed at least one person and damaged homes. At least seven people have died from Matthew's march through the Caribbean. The governor of Colombia's La Guajira department said a 67-year-old indigenous man was killed by tropical storm winds in the rural part of the country.

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