Hurricane Matthew claims two lives in Haiti already even before it fully hits

Date: 
Monday, October 3, 2016 - 14:00

Hurricane Matthew has claimed two more lives this time in Haiti even before it fully hits the hemisphere's poorest nation.

It brings to four, the number of people killed by the deadly system.

The two deaths are those of fishermen who were caught in rough water churned up by the storm.

A boat carrying one of the men capsized early Monday off the tiny southwestern fishing town of Saint Jean du Sud as he was trying to bring his wooden skiff to shore. 

The body of the other was recovered a short time later off the nearby town of Aquin after he apparently drowned.

This follows two other deaths associated with the system.

One man died Friday in Colombia and a 16-year-old in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 28 when the system passed through the eastern Caribbean.

Heavy rains from the outer bands of Hurricane Matthew drenched Jamaica and Haiti on Monday, flooding streets and sending many people to emergency shelters as the Category 4 storm approached the two countries. 

Matthew had sustained winds of 140 mph as it moved north, up from 130 mph earlier in the day.

The center was expected to pass just east of Jamaica and near or over the southwestern tip of Haiti early Tuesday before heading to eastern Cuba, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

In Jamaica, more than 700 people packed shelters in the eastern parish of St. Thomas and the Salvation Army said there were about 200 people at its shelters in Kingston as it put out a call for mattresses and cots. Many streets flooded throughout the country's southeast.

Still, many people chose to stick it out. Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie said all but four residents of the Port Royal area near the Kingston airport refused to board buses and evacuate.

In Haiti, authorities went door to door in the south coast cities of Les Cayes and Jeremie to make sure people were aware of the storm.

At least 1,200 people were evacuated to shelters in churches and schools.

In Port-au-Prince, schools were shuttered and residents lined up at gas stations and cleared out the shelves at supermarkets as a light rain fell in the capital. Some worried the city of roughly a million people would not fare well.

Forecasters said the storm was expected to dump as much as 40 inches of rain on some isolated areas of Haiti, raising fears of deadly mudslides and floods in the heavily deforested country where many families live in flimsy houses with corrugated metal roofs.

Matthew is one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recent history and briefly reached the top classification, Category 5, becoming the strongest hurricane in the region since Felix in 2007. The hurricane center said the storm appeared to be on track to pass east of Florida through the Bahamas, but it was too soon to predict with certainty whether it would threaten any spot on the U.S. East Coast.

As of 11 a.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 275 miles southwest of Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince and 205 miles southeast of Kingston. It was moving north at 6 mph.

SOURCE: http://www.foxnews.com/

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