Hurricane Matthew, Now ‘Extremely Dangerous,’ Hammers Florida Coast
Hurricane Matthew continues to pummel Florida’s east coast with strong winds and rain, although the storm weakened slightly and is now a Category 3 storm with winds of approximately 120 mph (193 km/h). Officials are warning that the storm continues to remain “extremely dangerous.”
Airlines cancelled thousands of flights on Thursday and Friday as the storm headed towards the United States and Amtrak suspended all train service between New York and Miami. Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, which closed Thursday, reopened earlier than expected according to a message posted by the airport on Twitter. “Our airline partners are implementing their plans to resume service later this morning,” the airport said.
“The worst is yet to come,” said Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry on a CNN news program Friday morning. Meanwhile, President Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina to facilitate relief efforts once the storm has passed.
Before weakening, Matthew hammered Haiti and nearby islands and reports indicate that as many as 478 people perished as a result of the storm, a figure that is hard to confirm given the situation in that country.
At 8 a.m. EDT, the storm was approximately 35 miles (56 kilometers) north-northeast of Cape Canaveral and 45 miles (72 kilometers) east-southeast of Daytona Beach according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm bypassed south Florida, leaving the 4.4 million people in and around Fort Lauderdale and Miami with only memories of storm preparation.
Over 600,000 residents in the state of Florida are without electricity as of 9 a.m. EDT and that number is expected to climb throughout the day.
In addition, over two million people were told to evacuate along the Florida coast in preparation for the storm and evacuations were ordered in parts of Georgia and South Carolina as well.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)