Hun­dreds die in Haiti as hur­ri­cane hits Florida

Wind gusts of up to 100kph and heavy down­pours re­ported

The Star (Kenya) - - News -

REUTERS/ Matthew, the first ma­jor hur­ri­cane threat­en­ing a di­rect hit on the United States in more than 10 years, lashed Florida yes­ter­day with heavy rains and winds af­ter killing at least 339 peo­ple in Haiti on its de­struc­tive march north through the Caribbean.

Winds gusts of up to 100kph and heavy down­pours were re­ported in sev­eral coastal com­mu­ni­ties in Florida as the eye of the Cat­e­gory Four hur­ri­cane tracked along the east coast of the state early yes­ter­day.

“We are just brac­ing and the winds are pick­ing up,” Daytona Beach Mayor Der­rick Henry told CNN. “A great num­ber of our res­i­dents have taken heed to our warn­ings and we are cer­tainly con­cerned about those that have not.”

More than 140,000 Florida house­holds were with­out power, ac­cord­ing to Gov­er­nor Rick Scott. In West Palm Beach, once lit street lights and houses went dark and In­ter­state 95 was empty as the storm rolled through the com­mu­nity of 100,000 peo­ple.

Hur­ri­cane Matthew car­ried ex­tremely dan­ger­ous winds of 215kph as it pounded the north­west­ern part of the Ba­hamas en route to Florida’s At­lantic coast ear­lier, the US Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­tre said.

While Matthew’s winds had dropped on Thursday night, it re­mained a Cat­e­gory Four on the fivestep Saf­fir-Simp­son scale of hur­ri­cane in­ten­sity as it neared Florida. There could ei­ther plow in­land or tear along the At­lantic coast through yes­ter­day night, the Mi­ami-based cen­tre said.

Res­i­dents sleep in a hall­way at a school used as a shel­ter while Hur­ri­cane Matthew ap­proaches Mel­bourne, Florida, US, on Thursday

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