By: Regina Wright ~Campus News Editor~
Moving through the Caribbean Sea and eventually toward the East Coast of the U.S., Hurricane Matthew was the biggest hurricane to form in the area since 2007.
The hurricane started off on the side of Western Africa and continued to move through the Atlantic toward the Caribbean Sea. The tropical storm formed into a hurricane on Sept. 29 and hit Haiti and Cuba on Oct. 4 as a Category 4.
A Category 4 hurricane is characterized by winds between 130 mph and 156 mph, causing severe damage to well-built homes and trees blown over.
With winds reaching 145 mph, Matthew wiped across Haiti, leaving a path of destruction and more than 1,000 dead. Infrastructure in the country has been weak since a 2010 earthquake and crumbled under the wind and flooding from Hurricane Matthew.
Homes, crops and roads were washed away and left residents cut off from the rest of the island. Relief efforts were hindered when the main road from the capital, Port-au-Prince, to the most affected area of the southern peninsula collapsed. Estimations find more than 15,500 Haitians have been displaced and are now living in shelters.
The hurricane then moved toward Cuba with its eye passing over the eastern tip of the country.
The storm continued to move and regain strength as it passed over the Bahamas on Oct. 6.
The hurricane made landfall over Florida on Oct. 7 as a Category 3.
A Category 3 is categorized by winds between 111 mph and 139 mph and major damage to well-built homes.
States of emergency in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina were declared ahead of the hurricane’s landfall. More than 1.5 million people left the coast, Walt Disney World and Sea World closed and hundreds of trains and flights were cancelled.
Matthew continued to hug the eastern coastline as a Category 1 by South Carolina. As it continued to move north, it lessened to a Tropical Storm near North Carolina on Oct. 9 and then began turning right toward the Atlantic Ocean.
Since Monday night, the U.S. death toll was 23.