Hurricane Matthew's death toll now 141 as Haiti's toll climbs to 136

Thursday, October 6, 2016 - 14:00

As more deaths are reported in Haiti, the death toll of Hurricane Matthew has climbed to 141.

Matthew, carrying winds of 220km/h, was "relentlessly pounding" the northwestern part of The Bahamas en route to Florida’s Atlantic coast, the US National Hurricane Center said.

The hurricane was likely to remain a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale as it hit the US, where it could either take direct aim at Florida or brush along the state’s coast through Friday night, the center said, warning of "potentially disastrous impacts".

About 136 people were killed in Haiti, local officials said, and thousands were displaced after the storm flattened homes, uprooted trees and inundated neighborhoods earlier in the week.

Four people were killed in the Dominican Republic, which neighbours Haiti and one in St Vincent.

Florida governor Rick Scott warned there could be "catastrophic" damage if Matthew slammed directly into the state and urged about 1.5-million people there to heed evacuation orders.

Scott, who activated several thousand National Guard troops to help deal with the storm, warned that millions of people were likely to be left without power.