Although Hurricane Matthew has dropped from a Category 4 to a Category 3 storm, the powerful hurricane has left more than 300,000 Florida residents without power, Fox News reported Friday. Matthew was reportedly centered about 45 miles off of the coast of Daytona Beach and is expected to unleash up to 15 inches of rain that can potentially trigger a storm surge of up to nine feet or more.
The hurricane has caused destruction in Orlando, Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, with forecasters predicting it will hit Savannah, Georgia next before making its way to Wilmington, North Carolina, The Weather Channel reported Friday. President Barack Obama has issued a state of emergency in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina.
Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Florida early Friday morning. Officials at the National Hurricane Center are advising residents to heed authorities' orders if they are told to evacuate. The storm is considered deadly and expected to cause fatalities with maximum sustained winds at about 120mph. Dozens were dead in Haiti from Hurricane Matthew landing there earlier this week.
A storm surge watch is in place for Florida in Boca Raton, Melbourne, Daytona Beach and Jacksonville. Savannah, Georgia, Charleston and Cape Fear, North Carolina are on storm surge watch as well. Around 1.5 million people have been told to evacuate in Florida.
The 4.4 million people in Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach have been spared from the dangerous storm, the New York Daily News reported. Many Florida airports have shut down and airlines have canceled more than 3,000 flights out of the two cities. Amtrak has suspended train service between New York and Miami and cruise lines have been forced to reroute ships to avoid the wrath of Hurricane Matthew.
There is reportedly one Florida woman dead in St. Lucie County. The cardiac arrest death of the 58-year-old woman is considered a storm-related death because firefighters could not reach her due to the strong winds from Hurricane Matthew.
“This storm's a monster," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said. "The storm has already killed people. We should expect the same impact in Florida,” he added.