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NBC NEWS – Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful Atlantic tropical storm in almost a decade, reached Cuba on Tuesday night after it flooded streets, flattened homes and left a trail of destruction in Haiti.
The eye of Matthew, a powerful category 4 storm with sustained winds of 140 mph, began making landfall near the eastern tip of Cuba at about 8 p.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said.
Matthew “is impacting eastern Cuba,” said Kait Parker, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel. “It did not weaken even with its interaction with Hispaniola, so we’re not expecting a lot of weakening with Cuba, either.”
Matthew hit the island almost 53 years to the day after Hurricane Flora killed 2,000 Cubans on Oct. 3, 1953.
In advance of the storm, the United States evacuated 700 civilians from Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which lost power shortly before noon ET on Tuesday. Three U.S. Navy ships were headed toward the Caribbean to help with relief efforts, officials said.