People have lined up by the dozens outside state stores to buy subsidized food ahead of Hurricane Matthew's expected arrival at the eastern tip of Cuba on Tuesday. "We pleaded with them but they refused so we left some fuel with them", he said.
Fisherman Carlos Smith in St. Catherine Parish said he realized the storm appeared to be unsafe but he couldn't abandon his property.
At least three deaths were blamed on the storm in Haiti, including one person whose home was crushed by a tree in Port Salut and a 26-year-old man who drowned trying to rescue a child who had fallen into a rushing river, authorities said.
"I'm hoping this is a false alarm, but we can't gamble", McCrory said.
"We are continuing to mobilize teams in the south to move people away from unsafe areas", Jean-Baptiste said. Agency chief Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste said another fisherman was missing.
Some anxious the crowded capital might not fare well. At least nine deaths were blamed on the storm during its week-long march across the Caribbean.
"Many people are now asking for help, but it's too late because there is no way to go evacuate them", said Fonie Pierre, director of Catholic Relief Services for the Les Cayes area, who was huddled in her office with about 20 people. One man died Friday in Colombia and a 16-year-old in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on September 28 when the system passed through the eastern Caribbean.
"Although Matthew is not now projected to directly impact Florida, we all know how quickly the track of these storms can change", Scott said.
Forecasters said the storm could dump as much as 40 inches (100 centimeters) of rain on some isolated areas of Haiti, raising fears of deadly mudslides and floods in the heavily deforested country where many families live in flimsy houses with corrugated metal roofs.
At 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT) Matthew's eye was about 45 miles (85 kilometers) east-northeast of Cabo Lucrecia, Cuba.
Hurricane Matthew roared into the southwestern coast of Haiti on Tuesday, threatening a largely rural corner of the impoverished country with devastating storm conditions as it headed north toward Cuba and the eastern coast of Florida.
Matthew is one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recent history and briefly reached the top classification, Category 5, becoming the strongest hurricane in the region since Felix in 2007.
It will be a Category 3 by the time it moves over the Bahamas at which point it is expected to weaken to a Category 2 and continue northwards toward the eastern seaboard, forecasters say.
Current forecast models keep the storm close to Florida but just off the east coast, meaning coastal areas of the state will certainly be impacted.
The U.S. installation has a population of about 5,500, including 61 men held at the detention center for terrorism suspects.
The risky Category 4 storm made landfall around dawn on Haiti's southern peninsula, where many people live along the coast in shacks of wood and corrugated steel that stand little chance of withstanding the force of the system's maximum sustained winds of 145 miles per hour (230 kph).
"We have no choice but to prepare ourselves to take a frontal assault if you will", Culpepper said.