Deadly Hurricane Matthew Creating Havoc for Southern States

APTOPIX Hurricane Matthew FloridaCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (EYT) – Hurricane Matthew, a Category 3 storm, struck coastal east-central Florida today, creating severe winds and power outages throughout the area.

PHOTO: Wind and water from Hurricane Matthew batter downtown St. Augustine, Fla., on Friday, Oct. 7. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

CNN reports stated that nearly 827,000 customers have been left without power in Florida, while officials worry the harshest damage could come further north as the storm nears northeast Florida Friday afternoon.

The tropical cyclone stormed down upon the northwest Bahamas before moving toward Florida’s east coast Thursday evening. Storms are expected to continue until Sunday morning, with the possibility of Florida getting hit twice.

According to CNN, as of 12:56 p.m., at least 276 people are dead, with at least one Florida death being linked to the storm. There are many people still missing, and reports have not been received from some of the worst affected areas.

Forecasters predict a storm surge in areas of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina could top 9 feet, with as much as 15 inches of rainfall hitting central Florida up through North Carolina, said CNN.

Affected areas may be uninhabitable for weeks or months, according to the National Weather Service.

The Weather Channel stated that hurricane warnings have been extended up through South Santee River, S.C. and remain in effect for the entire east coast of Florida and the northwest Bahamas.

Reports also stated that a tropical storm warning has been issued from north of South Santee River, S.C., to Surf City, N.C.

The Weather Channel report continued, stating that the storm’s winds may be the most destructive ones that part of Florida’s east coast has seen in decades, along with parts of east-central and northeast Florida and Georgia coasts.

The report said that structural wind damage, downed trees, flooding and widespread power outages are expected. Power outages may last for days following the storm.

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The report stated that authorities have urged more than two million people to evacuate their homes in affected areas. This is the largest mandatory U.S. evacuation since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

CNN said that residents not under mandatory evacuation orders have been told to “remain vigilant and be prepared to outmaneuver the storm, depending on its track.”

However, many people have decided to stay put in Florida, stocking up on food and supplies and boarding up windows. Florida officials are worried that more people are staying than leaving the area because they will not be able to leave once hurricane winds pick up.

Florida governor Rick Scott reported more than 22,000 people were in shelters statewide as of Friday morning.

Organizations like the Red Cross are sheltering as many as 3,600 evacuees in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, as of Wednesday night. The number is expected to grow as the storm nears the U.S., and Red Cross is prepared with over 30 trailer loads of shelter supplies, ready-to-eat meals and clean-up and comfort kits.

Red Cross continues to urge those in affected areas to finish their preparations and listen to local officials if told to evacuate their homes.

(Photo courtesy of The Weather Channel)


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