Matthew hits Cuba; warnings issued for Florida - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Hurricane Matthew: What you need to know

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The eye of deadly Hurricane Matthew has moved off the northeastern coast of Cuba late Tuesday with hurricane and tropical storm warnings issued for parts of Florida. 

The National Hurricane Center says Matthew will be moving through the Bahamas and is expected to near the Florida coast by Thursday evening.  

The storm's forecast track shows a possible landfall in the Carolinas on Saturday morning before churning north on a trek up the East Coast, remaining a strong hurricane for the next five days.

The governors of Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina all issued states of emergency for their states ahead of Matthew's landfall. 

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley even ordered some coastal communities to be evacuated before the potentially dangerous storm hits her state.

The National Hurricane Center said that tropical storm or hurricane conditions may be experienced in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina later this week and this weekend - including strong winds, heavy rainfall and dangerous storm surge. 

Local organizations are taking donations to help victims.

Hurricane Matthew made landfall near Les Anglais in southwest Haiti at 7 a.m.Tuesday on its way north.

It is the first category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Haiti since Hurricane Cleo in 1964, according to the National Hurricane Center, and had a devastating impact on Haiti.

The storm so far has killed at least seven people in the Caribbean, according to the Associated Press.

The center of the major hurricane is about 55 miles east-northeast of Guantanamo, Cuba, moving north at 8 mph with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. 

Heavy rain of up to 7 inches is expected from the Florida Keys north to east-central Florida, with 10 inches possible in some areas.

Hurricane-force winds extend up to 60 miles from the center of Matthew, and tropical storm winds can be found up to 185 miles from the center.

Forecasters cautioned that category 4 hurricane Matthew likely will have widespread impact beyond the forecast cone, whether the storm makes landfall in Florida or elsewhere along the coast.

"The impacts are going to happen no matter what," Knabb said.

The storm unleashed torrential downpours triggering flash flooding in Haiti.  Hurricane-force winds and storm surge of up to 11 feet were expected in the southern coasts of Cuba and Haiti. 

The Bahamas may experience storm surge of up to 15 feet. 

In addition, life-threatening swells will continue to affect the watches and warning areas, as well as the Caribbean coastline of Central America

The forecast discussion from the National Hurricane Center said even though the storm may slightly weaken because of interaction with land, it is expected to remain a powerful hurricane for the next few days. However, the storm is expected to gradually weaken later in the week because of wind shear and more unfavorable conditions.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Nicole formed in the Atlantic Ocean about 510 miles northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Packing maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, the storm is moving northwest at 9 mph. 

Forecasters expect the storm to gradually weaken, and it currently poses no danger to land.

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