Hurricane Matthew has caused an absolute devastation. It's responsible for hundreds of deaths in Haiti and has deeply impacted other Caribbean nations, Cuba, and the Bahamas. Governments of Florida and South Carolina had each declared a state of emergency in its respective state in preparation for the hurricane. So what makes Hurricane Matthew so dangerous? So many lives have tragically been lost.
According to a Reuters report on Friday afternoon, Hurricane Matthew is responsible for claiming 842 lives. The Associated Press reported a death toll from Haiti's central government at nearly 300 on Friday, but the AP noted that that number is likely significantly higher due to ongoing accounting in more remote areas.
The aftermath has reportedly left tens of thousands of people homeless, and has led to outbreaks of cholera, Reuters reported. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention describes cholera is an acute diarrheal illness that can be life threatening.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) released a statement on the cholera outbreak in Haiti, Reuters reported:
Due to massive flooding and its impact on water and sanitation infrastructure, cholera cases are expected to surge after Hurricane Matthew and through the normal rainy season until the start of 2017.
It's an unspeakably tragic devastation in Haiti, a beautiful and culturally-rich country that faced a devastating earthquake in 2010.
Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti as a category 4 hurricane – the second highest hurricane classification – and it's the first category 4 storm to hit Haiti since 1963, ABC News reported.
Here's the National Hurricane Center's description of a category 4 hurricane:
Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
According to CNN, Hurricane Matthew threatened Florida as a Category 3 hurricane, winds 111 to 129 mph, as of Friday morning, making it the most powerful hurricane in Florida since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
Hurricane Matthew is particularly worrisome because, as CNN reports, it's landfall has been unpredictable. Also, the hurricane has been on a coastal path, making it harder to lose its strength, Reuters reported.
"Once they make landfall, they will dissipate, but in the case of Matthew, it is going to be half over the ocean and continue to gain energy and hold together for much longer," Isaac Hankes, a weather research analyst at Lanworth Inc. said, according to Reuters.
What's more, reports have noted that Hurricane Matthew could hit Florida twice.
It's undoubtedly a scary hurricane that has had devastating effects. It's best to continue to remain informed on its path. Various charities and organizations have initiated released relief efforts for Haiti in the wake of Matthew.