HUR­RI­CANE MATTHEW BAT­TERS CUBA

Evac­u­a­tions be­gin in US as Matthew nears At least 25 killed across the Caribbean

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE -

AS THE deadly Hur­ri­cane Matthew carves a trail of de­struc­tion across the Caribbean, killing at least 25 per­sons (21 of them in Haiti), res­i­dents of the United States (US) are hastily mak­ing prepa­ra­tions as it heads their way. The deadly storm could make land­fall to­mor­row morn­ing on Florida’s east coast, me­te­o­rol­o­gist Dave Hen­nen said.

“I can­not em­pha­sise enough that ev­ery­one in our state must pre­pare now for a direct hit,” Florida Gov­er­nor Rick Scott said yes­ter­day.

“That means peo­ple have less than 24 hours to pre­pare, evac­u­ate, and shel­ter. Hav­ing a plan in place could mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween life and death.”

Cuba and Haiti took a ma­jor bat­ter­ing from Hur­ri­cane Matthew as res­cue work­ers strug­gled to reach cut-off towns and learn the full ex­tent of the death and de­struc­tion caused by the storm, even as it be­gan bat­ter­ing The Ba­hamas yes­ter­day. Key bridges have been washed out, roads are im­pass­able, and phone com­mu­ni­ca­tions are down.

Now, the US is brac­ing for its wrath. At least a half-mil­lion peo­ple along the lower East Coast have been urged to evac­u­ate their homes.

Fore­cast­ers have pre­dicted that Matthew will be a Cat­e­gory Four hur­ri­cane as it lashes Florida, Ge­or­gia, South Carolina, and North Carolina some­time be­tween this evening and Sat­ur­day.

As of yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, Matthew hurled 120mph (195kph) winds as it bar­relled to­wards The Ba­hamas, the Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter said. The hur­ri­cane was about 70 miles (115 kilo­me­tres) south of Long Is­land, Ba­hamas, and was mov­ing north­west at 12mph.

MAS­SIVE DE­STRUC­TION PRE­DICTED

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama warned Amer­i­cans in the storm’s path to pay at­ten­tion and take any evac­u­a­tion or­ders se­ri­ously. He said if the core of the storm strikes Florida, it could have a “dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect”.

Scott de­clared a state of emer­gency for the en­tire state. He warned that a direct hit by Matthew could lead to “mas­sive de­struc­tion” on a level un­seen since Hur­ri­cane An­drew dev­as­tated the Mi­ami area in 1992.

Bre­vard County com­mis­sion­ers or­dered one of the state’s first manda­tory evac­u­a­tions for res­i­dents of Mer­ritt Is­land and other bar­rier is­lands. Res­i­dents were or­dered to start leav­ing at 3 p.m. yes­ter­day.

Palm Beach res­i­dents have al­ready cleared many gro­cery store shelves ahead of the storm. Re­ports out of Ju­niper, Florida, were that peo­ple were push­ing and shov­ing their way through the lo­cal Home De­pot to buy sup­plies.

AP

A wo­man cries amid the rub­ble of her home, de­stroyed by Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Bara­coa, Cuba, yes­ter­day. The hur­ri­cane rolled across the sparsely pop­u­lated tip of Cuba overnight, de­stroy­ing dozens of homes in Cuba’s east­ern­most city, leav­ing hun­dreds of oth­ers dam­aged.

AP PHO­TOS

Peo­ple in ve­hi­cles make an evac­u­a­tion route over a Florida State Road 520 bridge head­ing west from Mer­ritt Is­land, Florida, yes­ter­day as Hur­ri­cane Matthew ap­proaches.

A cou­ple em­braces in the re­mains of their home, which was de­stroyed by Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Bara­coa, Cuba, yes­ter­day.

An­a­lyze La­guerre be­gins the task of putting her house in or­der af­ter it was dam­aged by Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Grand Goave, Haiti, yes­ter­day.

Res­i­dents fill sand­bags at the Bees Ferry fire sta­tion in Charleston, South Carolina, yes­ter­day, to pre­pare for pos­si­ble flood­ing from Hur­ri­cane Matthew.

Kayja Al­green sits with her three-month-old child, Nathan Marsh, and watches over De­mar­chio Smith, Ado­nis Smith, and Al­rica Al­green as they wait in­side a shel­ter set up for res­i­dents at a church ahead of the ar­rival of Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Nas­sau, Ba­hamas, yes­ter­day.

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