Almost seven years after a devastating earthquake destroyed much of Haiti, Hurricane Matthew was raking that impoverished nation this morning. The massive, Category 4 storm, 700 miles in diameter, pounded Haiti with high winds and torrential rain; tropical force winds extend 200 miles from the hurricane's central eye.
Heading north, Hurricane Matthew will cross eastern Cuba before passing through the Bahamas, likely maintaining its strength. Beyond the islands, the storm is expected to parallel the coast of northeast Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. The specific track remains uncertain and coastal damage will depend on its proximity to the shoreline. If the storm does not make landfall (and rapidly diminish in strength), Matthew may impact the coastal regions of the the Mid Atlantic States and New England as well.
While September is the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, October offers its fair share of storms. By mid November, tropical waters are cooling and upper level winds do not favor tropical storm development (see Tropical Storm Dynamics).