The major hurricane that is lashing Haiti is poised to hit the US this week

As Category 4 Hurricane Matthew batters Haiti and the rest of the Caribbean on Tuesday with powerful 145 mph winds and rain, we’re getting a more complete picture of the threat the storm poses to the United States.

NPR reports at least four people have died as a result of the storm in the Carribean, two in Haiti. And Haitian Senator Nenel Cassy described to the Miami Herald “catastrophic” flooding in the Nippes region of the country.

A hurricane watch is in effect for the east coast of Florida. Current models have Matthew striking Florida as a “major” hurricane late Thursday or Friday with winds over 110 mph, and then maintaining hurricane strength as it moves up the East Coast.

Here’s the map of the projected path:

As a general rule of thumb, hurricane projections four days or more into the future are hazy, so we don’t know yet how exactly Matthew’s path through the US would look. But Floridians should prepare for a major storm, and the rest of the East Coast should keep a close eye on updates.

Update: An earlier version of this article’s headline suggested that Matthew would strike the US both as a Category 4 hurricane and with 110 mph winds. A Category 4 hurricane has winds of 130 to 156 mph.

NOW WATCH: Florida governor on Hurricane Matthew: ‘You must leave before it’s too late’

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