Forecasters keep eye on Hurricane Matthew's track

Jamaica Tropical Weather Matthew

By nightfall, at least 11 deaths had been blamed on the powerful storm during its week-long march across the Caribbean.

More than 9,000 people were huddled in shelters across Haiti, authorities said as the eye of the storm passed over the remote fishing town of Les Anglais.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the storm now poses no threat to land. Nicole is located about 525 miles (840kmh) northwest of San Juan Puerto Rico. Since its strength changes from time to time, it may not be as powerful as expected once it makes its landfall on the US coast. The Red Cross put out a call for volunteers there.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory also declared a state of emergency for 66 counties in his state in anticipation of Matthew striking Thursday night.

In Jamaica too, officials were scrambling to protect the vulnerable, while residents boarded up windows and flocked to supermarkets to stock up on food, water, flashlights and beer. The agency said volunteers will likely be needed to help residents across the state of SC. One man died in Colombia and a teen was killed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as the storm moved through the Caribbean.

The center says it is extending a hurricane warning area already covering a large swath of Florida's Atlantic coast further northward to Altamaha Sound, Georgia. The storm is heading toward Cuba and the southeastern coast of Florida. Their governors are taking no chances. He says heavy rain, spin off tornadoes, high winds and beach erosion are among the concerns in Florida.

He asked residents to listen for directions from local officials and to "prepare for the worst and hope for the best". Also, Scott urged people to get gas in their vehicles and to keep cellphones charged in case of electrical power loss.

The deaths of the two fishermen in Haiti brings the total death toll from Hurricane Matthew to at least four.

Citing "life-threatening rains, winds and storm surges", the USAID released $400,000 in initial aid to mount a humanitarian response to the storm.

"This is shaping up to be a devastating blow, especially to places like Haiti and Cuba", said Domenica Davis, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel.

People cross a bridge while Hurricane Matthew passes in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 4, 2016. The center of the storm was projected to pass about 50 miles northeast of the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti's southwestern tip with howling, 145 miles per hour winds Tuesday, tearing off roofs in the poor and largely rural area, uprooting trees and leaving rivers bloated and choked with debris.

Due to the threat posed by the hurricane, Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued a State of Emergency declaration, allowing for state resources to be used to help prepare citizens for the storm.

The unsafe Category 4 storm made landfall around dawn on Haiti's southern peninsula, where many people live along the coast in shacks of wood or simple concrete blocks that are ill-suited to the force of the system's maximum sustained winds of 145 miles per hour (230 kph). The National Hurricane Center said the storm should maintain major hurricane status through Friday.

The hurricane center said it would likely issue a tropical storm watch or hurricane watch for the Florida Keys or the Florida peninsula and that it could create unsafe beach conditions along the East Coast later in the week.

"Although our track is to the east of Florida, interests there should remain vigilant and we can't rule out the possibility of impacts", Pasch said.

Hurricane warnings are posted for Jamaica, Haiti, eastern Cuba and the Bahamas, with tropical storm warnings posted for parts of Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Storm surges of up to 10 feet and torrential rain that could reach 40 inches in some areas is expected.

Vulnerable Haiti braced for flash floods and violent winds from the extremely risky Hurricane Matthew as the powerful storm kept on a path early Monday aiming at the hemisphere's poorest country.

Heavy rain also fell on Jamaica and risky rainfall was a threat for the Dominican Republic, which adjoins Haiti.

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