Hurricane Matthew Devastated Hurricane Matthew Devastated

This article is about the Atlantic hurricane of 2016. For other storms of

the same name, see Tropical Storm Matthew.


Hurricane Matthew was a very powerful, long-lived and deadly tropical

cyclone which became the first Category 5 Atlantic hurricane since

Hurricane Felix in 2007. The thirteenth named storm, fifth hurricane and

second major hurricane of the active 2016 Atlantic hurricane season,

Matthew wrought widespread destruction and catastrophic loss of life during

its journey across the Western Atlantic, including parts of Haiti, Cuba,

Dominican Republic and Lucayan Archipelago, the southeastern United States,

and the Canadian Maritimes. Over 1,600 estimated deaths have been

attributed to the storm, including 546 to 1,600 in Haiti, 1 in Colombia, 4

in the Dominican Republic, 1 in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and 49 in

the United States, making it the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since

Hurricane Stan in 2005, which killed more than 1,600 in Central America and

Mexico. With the storm causing damages estimated in excess of US$8 billion,

it was also the costliest Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.


Originating from a tropical wave that emerged off Africa on September 22,

Matthew developed into a tropical storm 35 miles (56 km) southeast of St.

Lucia on September 28, after which it experienced explosive intensification

as it tracked across the Caribbean Sea. Matthew became a hurricane 190

miles (310 km) northeast of Curaçao on September 29, ultimately achieving

Category 5 intensity the following day at just 13.3°N latitude – the lowest

latitude ever recorded for a storm of this intensity in the Atlantic

Basin.¹ Matthew weakened slightly while making a northward turn toward the

Greater Antilles, remaining a strong Category 4 hurricane as it made its

first landfall over Haiti’s Tiburon Peninsula early on October 4. The

cyclone then passed through the Gulf of Gonâve and Windward Passage,

retaining its Category 4 status before making a second landfall over

Guantánamo Province, Cuba later that evening. Land interaction helped

weaken the storm to a Category 3, though Matthew eventually reattained

Category 4 intensity as it moved away from Cuba and toward the Bahamas. The

eye of the storm passed between Andros Island and New Providence Island,

approaching to within 25 miles (40 km) of Nassau on October 6. Matthew made

its third landfall over Grand Bahama 15 miles (24 km) west-northwest of

Freeport as a Category 4 cyclone later that day. The storm then paralleled

the coast of the southeastern United States over the next 36 hours,

gradually weakening while remaining just offshore before making its fourth

and final landfall over the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge 55 miles

(89 km) south-southwest of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as a Category 1

cyclone on the morning of October 8. Matthew reemerged into the Atlantic

shortly afterward, briefly retaining its hurricane status before completing

its transition into an extratropical cyclone as it turned away from Cape

Hatteras, North Carolina on October 9.²

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