UPDATE: 4:30 p.m. EDT — After Hurricane Matthew swept through Haiti, leaving more than 800 people dead, officials said they were battling cholera alongwith flooding and other storm issues.
In the town of Anse-d'Hainault, seven people died of cholera, and another 17 cholera cases were reported in Chardonnieres on the south coast. The disease was introduced in Haiti by U.N. peacekeepers after the 2010 earthquake that killed some 200,000 people.
"Due to massive flooding and its impact on water and sanitation infrastructure, cholera cases are expected to surge after Hurricane Matthew and through the normal rainy season until the start of 2017," the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said in a statement.
UPDATE: 4:01 p.m. EDT — Airlines canceled at least 4,500 flights through Saturday as Hurricane Matthew crossed through the southeast coast. Florida's world-famous theme parks - Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld - were closed as the storm headed north toward Georgia and South Carolina from central Florida.
"I am really concerned about Jacksonville," Florida Gov. Rick Scott told reporters during a press conference Friday.
UPDATE: 3:32 p.m. EDT — About 10 percent of all Florida power users were without power Friday afternoon. That means more than a million homes didn't have power, Gov. Rick Scott wrote on Twitter.
UPDATE: 3:02 p.m. EDT — Historic St. Augustine, Florida, was full of seawater and rainwater Friday as Hurricane Matthew passed through the nearby coast. In some places across the state, winds reached 120 mph winds, the Associated Press reported.
UPDATE: 2:31 p.m. EDT — Hurricane Matthew's center was expected to stay off the coast of Florida Friday night before reaching Georgia and South Carolina Saturday with winds near 115 mph. Matthew is expected to remain a hurricane through Sunday, according to the latest National Hurricane Center report.
UPDATE: 2:01 p.m. EDT — Nearly four years after Superstorm Sandy left a path of death and destruction in New York City, local officials were closely watching Hurricane Matthew Friday as it cruised through Florida's east coast.
“The impact of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, the Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean, as well as Colombia and the U.S., is devastating. Many have lost their homes and their loved ones, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement Friday. "As the extent of damage continues to be assessed, the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit is working with members of the Caribbean community in New York City and beyond to coordinate resources and relief efforts. The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City is directing those who can make contributions to reputable humanitarian organizations already working on the ground. At this time, we ask New Yorkers to do what we do best and show solidarity with our brothers and sisters in their time of need."
UPDATE: 1:37 p.m. EDT — Days after Hurricane Matthew ravaged Haiti, small towns were still struggling to recover from the storm. Cellphone networks were down and roads were flooded with sea and river water, Reuters reported Friday.
"A tree fell on the house and flattened it, the entire house fell on us. I couldn’t get out," driver Jean-Pierre Jean-Donald, 27, told Reuters. "People came to lift the rubble, and then we saw my wife who had died in the same spot."
UPDATE: 12:50 p.m. EDT — At least 842 people were killed in Haiti from Hurricane Matthew, according to the latest death toll. Meanwhile, in the United States, Airbnb is offering 3,000 free rentals to people affected by the storm.
UPDATE: 12:32 p.m. EDT — Power outages across Florida were rising exponentially, according to new numbers released Friday afternoon by the regulatory agency for the state's utilities. More than 925,000 customers have reported being without electricity from the force of Hurricane Matthew.
The latest number is a decided increase from the more than 650,000 customers without power reported by the Florida Public Service Commission from Thursday night into Friday morning.
A possible drowning in Florida was reported in St. Johns County, which includes the city of St. Augustine, which is under mandatory evacuation orders after its streets were filled with water Friday.
UPDATE: 12:11 p.m. EDT — Ormond Beach is one of many Florida coastal communities that lost power Friday as Hurricane Matthew hit the state with heavy rain and high winds. Cochise Israel, who lives a half-block from the beach, said he went to a hotel in a safer area to help his family weather the storm.
"I’ve always rode them out," Israel, 38, told the Washington Post. "if anyone is in trouble, I have chainsaws and help hem get out. I’ve always been the hero."
UPDATE: 11:42 a.m. EDT -- Hurricane Matthew could bring up to 15 inches of rain in some areas of Florida, Gov. Rick Scott tweeted Friday. He told people to stay inside.
UPDATE: 11:18 a.m. EDT -- More than 27,000 people slept in Red Cross shelters Thursday night along the U.S. east coast because of Hurricane Matthew. The storm was about 95 miles southeast of Jacksonville, Florida, Friday, with winds of 120 mph.
UPDATE: 10:50 a.m. EDT -- President Barack Obama said people in Hurricane Matthew's path should listen to local officials. "If they tell you to evacuate, you need to get out of there and move to higher ground," he said from the White House Friday morning. He noted that "because storm surge can move very quickly ... people can think that they're out of the woods and then suddenly get hit, and not be in a positon in which they and their families are safe."
He added: "We can always replace property, but we cannot replace lives."
UPDATE: 10:40 a.m. EDT -- With nearly 600,000 homes in Florida without power, residents in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Myers and Cape Coral were getting the worst of it. An interactive power outage map for Florida can be found here.
UPDATE: 10:20 a.m. EDT -- North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory expects rainfall totals for his state to surpass a foot in some places, the Associated Press reported Friday. He said residents should expect to have their power go out.
UPDATE: 9:50 a.m. EDT -- NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida reported minor roof damage from Hurricane Matthew Friday. Cars parked at the complex also were damaged, and there was loss of air conditioning and water pressure in places, NASA spokesman George Diller told the media.
UPDATE: 9:27 a.m. EDT -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott told residents not to touch down power lines or go into standing water after Hurricane Matthew passes through the state. He also shared other safety tips, such as urging residents not to go outside during the storm and not to return home until evacuation orders have been lifted.
"I don't want anything to happen to anybody's family or anybody's friends," he said.
UPDATE: 9:12 a.m. EDT -- Nearly 600,000 Floridians were without power Friday morning as Hurricane Matthew moved up the state's east coast.
UPDATE: 9:02 a.m. EDT -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott was live tweeting Hurricane Matthew updates. "The eye of Hurricane #Matthew is now 100 miles from Jacksonville," he tweeted around 8 a.m.
Despite evacuation orders, residents were walking outside and driving around Daytona Beach, which was hit hard with rain and high winds, according to media reports.
"This is honestly stupid," a CNN reporting live from Daytona Beach said on air Friday.
UPDATE: 8:54 a.m. EDT -- In the small beach town of Cocoa Beach, Mayor Tim Tumulty told residents to stay indoors until the all-clear is given. "We’re still feeling very strong winds, and it’s not over yet," he told CNN. "We don’t want anyone out on the roads. It's very dangerous."
Cocoa Beach is located in Brevard County, Florida, where there was a hurricane warning Friday. It has a population of roughly 11,231 residents and is located about 80 miles south of Daytona Beach, which was pounded with rain and high winds Friday.
UPDATE: 8:37 a.m. EDT -- The government of the Bahamas discontinued its hurricane warning for the island nation, according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center. In the United States, a hurricane warning was in effect from Sebastian Inlet in Brevard County, Florida, to South Santee River in South Carolina. The center of Matthew was expected to move from Florida's east coast to the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina Saturday with winds near 120 mph.
UPDATE: 8:08 a.m. EDT -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott continued to urge Floridians to leave their homes and seek safer ground as Hurricane Matthew made its way up the coast toward Jacksonville. "Hurricane #Matthew is still a threat. I-10 is clear, if you need to evacuate from North Florida now is the time," he tweeted Friday.
Hurricane Matthews pummeled Florida's east coast Friday with rains and wind gusts up to 100 mph that shut down bridges, closed down businesses and cut off power for hundreds of thousands of residents.
The National Hurricane Center downgraded Matthew to a Category 3 storm overnight, but officials warned that the "eye of extremely dangerous" storm could left a trail of damage after it left at least 128 people dead across the Caribbean earlier this week.
The storm arrived late Thursday near West Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral as Gov. Rick Scott warned it would be "catastrophic." "There is no reason not to leave," Scott said Thursday. "Do not surf. Do not go to the beach. This storm will kill you."
South Florida seemed to be in the clear as the storm moved up Florida's central east coach. Hurricane warnings were reduced to tropical storm warnings in areas south of Boca Raton. But in Daytona Beach, there were 40 mph winds and torrential downpours as the storm inched north.
"This is like no storm in the record books," Bryan Norcross, senior hurricane specialist for The Weather Channel, told NBC News. "This is not hype, this is not hyperbole, and I am not kidding. I cannot overstate the danger of this storm. Central and northern Florida have never been hit by a hurricane this strong."
At least 340,000 people had lost power because of the storm.
Georga, South Carolina and North Carolina were preparing for the storm to move to those states next. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency throughout the state. Evacuations were ordered across Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
"Well, we are not going to go drag anybody out of their houses against their will, but the mandatory evacuation designation is significant," Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said during a press conference. "I want everyone to understand we are being cautious, but we don't want anyone to panic."
Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, told USA Today economic losses from the storm could reach nearly $70 billion.