- Title: Hurricane Matthew takes aim at Bahamas after pummeling Haiti, Cuba
- Date: 5th October 2016
- Summary: VARIOUS MORE OF EMPTY COUNTERS AT AIRPORT
- Embargoed: 20th October 2016 16:37
- Keywords: Bahamas Hurricane Matthew hurricane storm
- Location: NASSAU, BAHAMAS / INTERNET
- City: NASSAU, BAHAMAS / INTERNET
- Country: Bahamas
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents,Wind/Hurricane/Typhoons/Tornadoes
- Reuters ID: LVA00252QBUBR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Hurricane Matthew, the fiercest Caribbean storm in almost a decade, powered toward the Bahamas and Florida early on Wednesday (October 5) after battering Haiti and Cuba with torrential rains and killing at least 10 people.
The hurricane, which the United Nations said created the worst humanitarian crisis to hit struggling Haiti since a devastating 2010 earthquake, whipped Cuba and Haiti with 140 mile-per-hour (230 kph) winds on Tuesday (September 4), pummelling towns, farmland and resorts.
The eye of the storm was about 115 miles (185 km) south of Long Island in the Bahamas on Wednesday morning and it was expected to be very near the east coast of Florida by Thursday (October 6) evening, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Maximum sustained winds eased to around 115 mph (185 kph) by Wednesday morning but the NHC said it was likely to strengthen again slightly in the coming days.
Matthew was a Category Four hurricane through Tuesday, but was downgraded to Category Three early on Wednesday, NHC said.
It was on track to mow over the central and northwestern Bahamas, the NHC forecasts showed.
Nassau's Lynden Pindling International Airport was closed as of 11 a.m. Wednesday morning (1500 GMT) as the storm approached.
A few travellers had made their way to the airport only to find check-in counters deserted and all flights grounded.
"Well, it's a little frustrating because I think it would have been easy to put out a notice that the airport was closed. I mean, I did not see anything on the Internet or the news that the airport was closed. There might have been a report and I missed it. But yeah, it's frustrating because now I gotta figure out exactly what to do with them (family) to keep them safe," said one traveller who identified himself only as William.
Officials in the Bahamas urged residents to evacuate to higher ground and the Ministry for Grand Bahama said on Facebook that government offices in New Providence and Grand Bahama had been closed until further notice.
Hurricane and tropical storm warnings were extended along the east coast of Florida as the storm moved north.
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