Hurricane Matthew: Haiti braces for devastating flash floods; Florida, North Carolina on alert

Matthew nearing landfall with gust speed of 145 mph; upto 40 inches rainfall expected.

China issues yellow alert for Typhoon Malakas; secong typhoon in a week
Picture for representation Reuters

Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful Atlantic tropical storm in almost a decade, is all set to bear down on Haiti after gathering strength while spinning across the Caribbean Sea.

Torrential rain lashed Haiti on Monday night bringing normal life to a standstill. Experts forecast up to 40 inches of rain could be dumped on the Caribbean country.

The storm, with gust speed of 145 mph, killed at least three people in the last week and forced changes in the course of cruise ships. Governments of Florida and North Carolina also declared a state of emergency along the coastal areas.

According to CNN, the US National Hurricane Center said: "This rainfall will likely produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides."

Authorities have urged people to be careful and take measures to secure life and property. "Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion," it added.

The hurricane center also said that the landfall is expected to happen off the western tip of the Tiburon Peninsula.

Heavy rainfall, up to 40 inches, is expected in Southern Haiti and southwestern Dominican Republic. Northwestern Haiti, Eastern Cuba and the southeastern Bahamas will also face the impact of the hurricane and could see up to a foot of rain.

Cuba, Haiti and the Bahamas are also warned of "Destructive waves" that could push the storm surge to between 10 and 15 feet.

On 3 October, at around 11pm, the category 4 hurricane was 190 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince and 100 miles south of Tiburon and was moving about 7 mph, reported the hurricane center.

However, according to CNN senior meteorologist Taylor Ward, Jamaica is likely to avoid the storm but will receive enough rainfall to trigger flooding in several places.

"Conditions will quickly go downhill in Cuba throughout the day Tuesday with a landfall in the eastern tip likely late in the afternoon," Ward said. "Matthew will then take a prolonged trip through much of the Bahamas from overnight Tuesday through Thursday afternoon."

To avoid Matthew's path, several cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean,Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Princess and Carnival, have rerouted their trips.