Gitmo Evacuated Amid Fiercest Atlantic Hurricane Since 2007

Gitmo evacuated as storm heads north
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2016 3:10 AM CDT
Updated Oct 3, 2016 4:03 AM CDT
Gitmo Workers Evacuated as Hurricane Matthew Nears
This GOES East satellite image shows Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean Sea.   (NOAA via AP)

Hurricane Matthew became the strongest Atlantic hurricane since 2007's Felix when it briefly became a Category 5 storm Friday—and it is nowhere near finished yet. The storm, now a Category 4, is dumping torrential rain on Jamaica and parts of Cuba and could do its worst damage when it lashes Haiti on Monday evening, the AP reports. CNN reports that as the storm approached, the US evacuated 700 workers and their families from its Guantanamo Bay base to Florida, though essential personnel—and the 61 terror suspects still being held at the Cuba facility—are staying put.

The storm is packing winds of more than 130mph and could dump up to 40 inches of rain on parts of Haiti. "This could be catastrophic for some places, particularly Haiti," National Hurricane Center meteorologist Dennis Feltgen tells USA Today. "This is an area where trees just don't exist" due to deforestation, he says. "The terrain is stripped, and the threat of major flash floods and mudslides is very real." The center says that according to the latest forecasts, Matthew will pass to the east of Florida, but it is still too early to say for sure whether it will threaten the state—or hit areas further up the East Coast. (More hurricane stories.)

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