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Hurricane Matthew - United States

What happened? - Hurricane Matthew formed from a tropical wave that pushed off the African coast in late September off the Cape Verde Islands on Sept. 25.

The storm system began to form as it moved westward across the Atlantic and was named Tropical Storm Matthew near the Windward Islands.

Once Matthew reached the eastern Caribbean, it became a hurricane and rapidly intensified. Its peak intensity was late Sept. 30 into early Oct. 1 when it reached Category 5 strength with 160 mph winds. Matthew then made landfall in Haiti and eastern Cuba on Oct. 4 as a Category 4 hurricane. Matthew hammered the Bahamas Oct. 5-6 as a Category 3 and 4 hurricane.

Following an eastward shift in Matthew's predicted track, a hurricane watch was issued for much of Haiti on October 1, The warning eventually encompassed the entire country by the afternoon of October 2. Residents on outlying islands of Haiti were evacuated to the mainland. Life-threatening rainfall was forecast to affect much of the nation, with accumulations averaging 15 to 25 inches along the southern coast with isolated peaks up to 40 inches. Much of Haiti's population, already suffering from a massaive 2010 earthquake, were living in makeshift homes and tents and were particularly vulnerable to the storm-force winds and flooding. Hurricane Matthew has killed at least 473 people in Haiti with 752 people missing and in the aftermath, an outbreak of the deadly cholera virus is spreading among the population. Passing through the Bahamas as a major hurricane, Matthew inflicted severe impacts across several islands, particularly Grand Bahama where thousands of homes were destroyed.

As Matthew approached the continental United States several states declared a state of emergency for either entire states or coastal counties and widespread evacuations were ordered for extensive areas of the coast. In Florida, over 1 million lost power as the storm passed to the east, with 478,000 losing power in Georgia and South Carolina. While damage was primarily confined to the coast in the Florida and Georgia, torrential rains spread inland in the Carolinas and Virginia, causing widespread flooding.

Matthew's post-tropical remains were absorbed into a slow-moving mass of cold air off the coast of North Carolina. The humidity of the tropical system was drawn into the storm which caused heavy rain and strong winds in portions of eastern Canada such as Nova Scotia and Newfoundland where intense rains and flooding occurred from October 10 to 11.