"LES CAYES, Haiti -- Haitians living in vulnerable coastal shacks frantically sought shelter as the strongest Caribbean storm in nine years, Hurricane Matthew, closed in on the southwestern peninsula, sending storm surges, wind and rain into seaside towns.
Matthew, a violent Category 4 storm packing 145 mile-per-hour (230 kph) winds, was due to pound the western tip of Haiti early on Tuesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
'Life-threatening rain, wind and storm surges' had begun to spread over parts of the country as Matthew approached, the center said in a 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT) Tuesday advisory.
The outer bands of the cyclone had already reached the area late on Monday, flooding dozens of houses in the town of Les Anglais when the ocean rose, the local mayor said. In the town of Les Cayes on the southern coast, the wind bent trees and the power went out."