Whenever people hear the names Katrina, Sandy, Charley, and Andrew they think of the storms that devastated this nation. Matthew is a popular name that means “Gift from God”, but over the past week it has become cringe worthy. Millions were left without power, winds exceeded 110 miles per hour with miles of destruction, death tolls reached nine-hundred and coastal roadways turned into roaring rivers, and storm surges flooded nations. Hurricane Matthew delivered some of the worst tragedies along its path as it started its slow crawl up the East Coast.
First, Matthew made landfall in Haiti on Tuesday as a Category 4 hurricane. It left behind widespread destruction. Haiti was struck with wind speeds up to 125 miles per hour and heavy rain that flattened homes, razed crops, swept away livestock, and flooded villages. After experiencing a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010, it seems so unfair that the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere should have to encounter another natural disaster. Also, fears of an even worse cholera outbreak and food shortages are something for the people of Haiti to be concerned about. Despite it all, Haiti’s positive spirit remains. However, Matthew had more to give.
After tearing through Haiti, Matthew began to set its sight on the United States East Coast. Matthew bore down on Florida Friday morning. Grocery stores were emptied and roads were jammed as 1.5 million Floridians were advised to evacuate. The storm surge caused massive amounts of erosion of the Florida beaches, portions of state roads were washed away, houses were surrounded by rising water, and thousands of trees uprooted. Many people are grateful that the damage was not worse, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Matthew continued to crawl up the coast towards Georgia and the Carolinas. The same conditions that battered Florida, occurred in Georgia and South Carolina. Curfews were even set until daylight to avoid looting. Carolina coasts braced for flooding as Matthew made its way north.
All were expecting Florida to be hit the hardest, but it turned out that North Carolina saw some of the worst conditions. Early forecasts predicted that Matthew would make its way out to sea before reaching North Carolina. The storm ended up staying longer than expected. The rain was dumped upon North Carolina all of Saturday, and Matthew became a flooding rival with Hurricane Floyd. The amount of rain was anywhere from six to eighteen inches across the state. Thousands of rescues carried throughout the night and next day. Along with the endless rain, North Carolina also experienced intense winds. Gov. Pat McCrory called the storm one of the worst floods he has seen since Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Something bizarre was the turnout at the North Carolina State University football game on Saturday. Fans still attended the game, even amongst the storm! Even after Matthew made its way out of North Carolina, there was still much turmoil. Parts of the state, such as Lumberton, are still witnessing ongoing floods. The water level has risen so high that you can only see the roofs of cars. River banks continue to burst, adding additional water issues. Eastern North Carolina is about to deal with some very serious circumstances. As the deluge rolls downstream towards the Atlantic Ocean, rescue teams follow. Flood waters continued to rise after Saturday, and threatened dams and those living around major rivers. The water is stuck with nowhere to go. Flood waters are not expected to crest until Friday. Wake County cancelled school on Monday and school is still being cancelled throughout many other counties this week. Universities, such as East Carolina University, cancelled classes for the remainder of the week. Millions are still without power and road conditions remain impassible. In some cases, families are not expected to have power anywhere from a few days to a week. Matthew’s death toll reached thirty-five as of Monday. Seventeen of these causalities were reported to be found in North Carolina. Cities are not expected to be drained for about another week.
Even though the storm has passed, Matthew is still impacting countless lives. Hurricane Matthew proved to be a destructive one, and states are now in recovery mode. The devastation of Hurricane Matthew has left tragedy, and the country will be working hard to alleviate the losses from Hurricane Matthew.