McCrory: Power mostly restored after Hurricane

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- The Latest on Hurricane Matthew (all times local):
9:50 a.m.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says 55,000 customers still have no electricity, but that's down from nearly 900,000 at the height of Hurricane Matthew.
McCrory said Thursday that no new deaths have been reported. State officials say 20 people have died in the storm, almost all of them in vehicle-related deaths.
McCrory says three more counties have been approved for federal help. Nearly three dozen counties are now approved for aid to local government and 17 counties have been approved for help to individuals who suffered losses.
The governor says the biggest problems continue to be in Robeson County, in the southeastern part of the state. 
But he warned flooding is still possible across much of the eastern North Carolina. 
   7 a.m.
North Carolina officials are reopening a long section of the main road on the Outer Banks after damage from Hurricane Matthew.
Transportation officials said in a statement that crews have cleared debris and the water has receded enough to reopen the section of N.C. 12 on Thursday that leads south toward Cape Hatteras.
Dare County is still restricting access to Frisco and Hatteras.
Matthew left much of the road under water because of tidal flooding and heavy rains.
Transportation crews began clearing debris and sand Monday but the water had been slow to recede.
Officials urge people to drive slowly and be careful where there is still water on the road.
Engineers checked the bridge and found no evidence that sand had washed away from the bridge piers.
   3 a.m.
 Anita Van Beveren has been coming back day after day, as often as once an hour, to watch the brown floodwater's progress toward the rental home she shares with her two teenage children in Greenville, North Carolina.
While she got many belongings out, they couldn't move everything -- one of their bicycles is chained to a back deck surrounded by water. She says she's been crying, but she feels lucky to be staying with friends.
Her leafy neighborhood is one of many around North Carolina to suffer flooding after Hurricane Matthew.
9:55 a.m.
Gov. Pat McCrory says more damage is still to come for many people in the eastern part of North Carolina as the state faces its ninth day of Hurricane Matthew's aftermath.
He also said the state's death toll from the storm has risen to 19.
At a news conference Wednesday in Raleigh, McCrory said serious flooding is heading downstream even though the weather now looks beautiful.
He said many people are hurting, living in shelters and preparing for major flooding. The governor says major flood issues remain in Robeson County. 
The governor is especially worried about the Tar River in Greenville and the Neuse River in Goldsboro.
Four counties have been added to the federal disaster declaration: Bertie, Wayne, Johnston and Wilson counties.
The number of power outages in the state has dropped to 143,000.  
 6:25 a.m.
Flooding across eastern North Carolina is still expected to get worse before it gets better.
The National Weather Service says the Tar River in Greenville was at nearly 23 feet. It's expected to reach 25 feet late Thursday night or early Friday.
The airport in Greenville was flooded and officials ordered the evacuation of about one tenth of the city's 90,000 people. East Carolina University is closed for the rest of the week.
The Neuse River in Kinston is also still rising and is expected to peak Saturday. The weather service says the flooding is comparable to that of Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
 Forecasters say all roads on the south side of Kinston will be flooded.
Flooding was also reported in Fayetteville. Forecasters say moderate flooding is occurring and conditions aren't expected to get better before Friday morning.
3 a.m.
Homeowners, students and businesses in one of eastern North Carolina's population centers are keeping a nervous watch on the river that flows along downtown, as Hurricane Matthew's deadly after-effects lingered days after the storm passed.
Authorities ordered evacuations for about one-tenth of Greenville's 90,000 people. The Tar River is expected crest Wednesday.
Military trucks rumbled through leafy neighborhoods Tuesday where orange traffic cones and police tape discouraged people from entering. Police officers were stationed at the edge of the evacuation zone to monitor who came and went.
David Baker, whose family owns the River Bank Apartments, said all but one of their tenants had heeded the evacuation order by Tuesday, and he was spending the afternoon putting boards and sealant across the doorways of ground-floor units.
8:15 p.m.
Florida officials say nine deaths are now blamed on Hurricane Matthew.
The state's tally includes two deaths in Miami-Dade County, one each in Orange, Putnam and Duval counties and four in Volusia County.
The four deaths reported by Volusia officials were a woman struck by a falling tree during the storm, an elderly man later electrocuted by a downed power line, a boy who inhaled generator fumes and a worker crushed by a large log while removing trees in the storm's aftermath.
Matthew brushed Florida's Atlantic coastline last week, staying just offshore as it moved from the Miami area to Jacksonville.
The storm has been blamed for more than 500 deaths in Haiti and 34 in the United States -- 18 of those in North Carolina.
7:10 p.m.
North Carolina officials say the death toll associated with Hurricane Matthew has risen to 18.

McCrory told a briefing Tuesday afternoon that two people drowned in Robeson County. There were also drownings in Columbus and Wayne counties.
Each was attributed to cars either being submerged or swept away in flood waters, but no additional details were immediately available.
The U.S. death toll now stands at 33. Some 500 people are feared dead in Haiti.
North Carolina Gov. McCrory gave another update Tuesday evening on the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. A NC Disaster Relief Fund has been created to support long-term recovery efforts.
5:30 p.m.

The White House says President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in South Carolina.

The declaration provides federal aid to supplement state and local governments responding to Hurricane Matthew. Federal money is also available for projects designed to mitigate the damage from future storms.

Obama also spoke with North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday to discuss the widespread flooding taking place.

The White House says Obama continues to stress that the danger of flooding will continue over the coming days. He is urging residents in the path of the flooding to listen to local officials.

FEMA is also transporting food, water and blankets to residents. More than 5.2 million meals, 3.7 million liters of water and 72,000 blankets were placed in position before the storm to distribute to residents as needed.


2:30 p.m.
NASA's Kennedy Space Center is back open for business.

NASA is still tallying up all the damage from Hurricane Matthew -- mostly ripped-off roofs.
Center director Robert Cabana said Tuesday that even though damage is in the millions of dollars, it would have been much worse had Matthew not weakened and veered slightly offshore Friday. As he puts it, "We were definitely blessed."
Among the buildings with roof and water damage: the 1960s-era beach house once used by astronauts for parties and barbecues before launch.
Industrial air conditioning units were rushed in from around the country, after the roof came off the building that serves as the electric room for air conditioning throughout the main launch area. The switching equipment ended up soaked.
Just over 8,300 people work at Kennedy.
Officials have raised the U.S. death toll from Hurricane Matthew to 30, and half of them are in North Carolina.

Authorities there reported four more fatalities Tuesday. Three motorists washed away by flood waters and a man whose car was struck by a tree.

Florida also raised its death count to eight from five that had previously been reported.

Matthew killed more than 500 people in Haiti.
11:20 a.m.
Officials in Robeson County, North Carolina, have found the body of a man who was in a car that was washed away in the flooding that followed Hurricane Matthew.
Emergency Management Director Stephanie Chavis said the man's body was found late Monday afternoon after an extensive search.
The man's name has not been released.
The death raises the storm's toll to 27, including 15 deaths in North Carolina. All but one have involved motor vehicles.
Chavis says officials have been working to contact people thought to be missing who are not getting phone calls because of power outages.
She says she's not sure what searchers will find once the flooding is over.
Chavis says state it's hard to get help to everyone quickly because of flooded roads.
   11:15 a.m.
   Georgia's utility companies say nearly 90,000 customers remained without power in southeast Georgia and along the state's coast as crews continue working to restore electricity and other services after Hurricane Matthew.
   Georgia Power reports that about 75,000 of its customers remained without power Tuesday morning. Most of them were in the Savannah area.
   Separately, the state's electric membership cooperatives said about 14,000 of its customers were without power Tuesday morning. The cooperatives, which serve many rural parts of Georgia, said its remaining outages are in the most heavily damaged areas from the storm.
Other services are slowly being restored along the coast. Water officials on Tuesday announced that residents and businesses on St. Simons Island no longer need to boil water after tests were negative for contaminants.
10:45 a.m.
The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta has opened its tanks to more than a dozen sea turtles temporarily moved from Jekyll Island to keep them safe during Hurricane Matthew.
Authorities say the storm prompted workers at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to send 18 turtles to Atlanta over the weekend.
The sea turtles are expected to remain at the aquarium's animal care facility for at least a week as Georgia Sea Turtle Center staff head back to Jekyll Island to evaluate their homes and the facility.
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center's website says the facility is focused on conservation and increasing awareness through sea turtle education, rehabilitation, and research programs. It's also one of the island's main tourist attractions, where visitors can watch employees care for the animals.
9:35 a.m.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says a state trooper shot and killed a man during a confrontation amid floodwaters in hart-hit Lumberton.
McCrory said Tuesday that the trooper and two deputies encountered the man while going through high water in a Humvee around 8 p.m. Monday.
McCrory says he has few details about what led to the shooting only saying it happened in "very difficult circumstances."
The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting. The agency did not immediately respond to messages seeking more information.
9:20 a.m.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says three more people have died in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
McCrory said Tuesday that the new deaths were vehicle-related.
The most recent deaths occurred when a tree fell on a vehicle in Wake County. The other two were traffic accidents in Wilson and Cumberland Counties.
All but 1 of the 14 deaths have been vehicle-related. The other person died in a fire that was attributed to the storm.
8:20 a.m.
Power is slowly flowing back to South Carolina homes left in the dark after Hurricane Matthew hammered the state.
Utility company outage maps show that as of early Tuesday, just over 300,000 customers across the state remain without power. That's down from about 400,000 late Monday and down from the total of about 850,000 customers who lost power during last weekend's storm.
It's expected to be several days before power is restored.
7:55 a.m.
Officials in North Carolina say a dam that's been in danger of a breech following Hurricane Matthew is holding, so far.
Deputy Public Safety Director Scott Brooks says crews worked until about 2 a.m. Tuesday to get sandbags in place to reduce the threat at Woodlake Dam in Moore County near Vass.
Brooks said crews would be out again later Tuesday morning to finish. He says the work will need to be inspected before residents can return home.
Brooks says he doesn't know how quickly that inspection can occur. He says the evacuation ordered late Monday is the second in the last three days.
The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for the area in Moore County, as well as Hoke and Cumberland counties because of the danger a dam failure would pose.
7:35 a.m.
Officials are waiting for all train tracks to be checked before freight trains can resume service from Georgia to North Carolina, following Hurricane Matthew.
CSX Transportation spokeswoman Kristin Seay told The Fayetteville Observer on Monday that some railroad ties and rail lines were washed out from the hurricane's torrential rains over the weekend.
A statement on the CSX website says the company is working to restore rail lines, but service remains suspended from Savannah, Georgia, to Pembroke, North Carolina.
3:30 a.m.
Helicopters and rescue boats are expected to return to work in North Carolina looking for people stranded by flooding after the heavy rains dumped by Hurricane Matthew.
Rescue teams will be back at work across eastern North Carolina on Tuesday as the deluge rolls downstream toward the Atlantic Ocean. At least three rivers were forecast to reach record levels, some not cresting until Friday.
The full extent of the disaster in North Carolina is still unclear, but it appears that thousands of homes were damaged, and more are in danger of flooding.
The storm killed more than 500 people in Haiti and at least 23 in the U.S. -- nearly half of them in North Carolina. At least three people were missing.
8 p.m.
Several Fayetteville VA Medical Center facilities have been impacted by Hurricane Matthew, leading to temporary closures and modifications of available services.
A statement released Monday said Goldsboro Community-based Clinic is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Robeson County facility will be closed for the rest of the week.
All surgeries and procedures scheduled for the Fayetteville VA Health Care are canceled for the remainder of the week, while all procedures scheduled for the Wilmington VA Health Care are canceled for Tuesday.
Canceled appointments will be rescheduled for first available opening. 

7:40 p.m.
Electric cooperatives in North Carolina are working in southeastern counties to restore power.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, the cooperatives reported 74,000 customers without electricity.

Close to 270 additional workers are in the field with local line-workers and tree trimmers to speed repairs to local cooperative systems. Counties experiencing the highest number of co-op outages are Robeson, Bladen, Sampson, Harnett and Wayne.

The cooperatives are working closely with Duke Energy on remaining transmission outages. Several transmission outages already have been restored, and more repairs to transmission outages are expected Monday night into Tuesday. Transmission-based outages account for approximately 75 percent of the cooperatives' remaining outages.


7:10 p.m.

President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for North Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Matthew's flooding for damage that's already occurred and that may happen later this week as river levels rise following massive rains.

Monday's declaration means individuals in 10 counties can access federal funding for things like home repairs, temporary housing and loans to cover uninsured property losses. Those counties are Beaufort, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Hoke, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt and Robeson.

Local governments and some nonprofits in 31 eastern counties now can also get help from the federal government for emergency work, paid for on a cost-sharing basis. The Federal Emergency Management Agency says more counties could be designated as damage assessments are completed.

Gov. Pat McCrory turned in paperwork over the weekend to attempt to expedite the declaration process.

5:40 p.m.
Rescue workers saved 150 people from the third floor of town hall after rising flood waters swamped a tiny South Carolina town.
Resident Kathy Finger said the water in the Lumber River near Nichols started to rapidly rise Sunday night, more than a day after Hurricane Matthew dumped 15 inches of rain in nearby Mullins.
Finger called 911 around 10 p.m. Sunday when water reached her knees. She was moved to the town hall, where she and about 150 people had to wait overnight for the South Carolina National Guard and the state Department of Natural Resources to rescue them.
Finger says with the power out in Nichols, residents didn't get any warnings about the rising water.
5:30 p.m.
Nearly 800 inmates in a North Carolina prison have been evacuated due to rising floodwaters associated with Hurricane Matthew.
Keith Acree of the Department of Public Safety said Monday that 797 prisoners were transported by bus from Neuse Correctional Institution in Goldsboro to other prisons in the state system.
Neuse Correctional Institution sits near the confluence of the Neuse and Little rivers. It is a minimum-security prison which houses adult male inmates.
5 p.m.
Officials report the death toll linked to Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina has risen to 11 after the body of a 75-year-old man was discovered inside his car in Gates County.
The state Emergency Operations Center said authorities received a report of a missing man on Sunday, and that the last ping on his cell phone came at 1:17 p.m. and was traced to an area of N.C. 32 near Gatesville which had been flooded.
When the flood waters began to recede on Monday, the car was located and the body was found inside.
The man's identity hasn't been released.
4 p.m.
Florida officials say that Hurricane Matthew is being blamed for at least five deaths.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Scott said Monday that officials have reported five deaths related to the powerful storm that scraped Florida's east coast. The storm caused downed power lines, beach erosion, flooding and at one point plunged more than 1 million people into the dark.
State officials have not released details of the deaths, and say they have received reports only from a handful of counties, so that number could go higher under a fuller accounting.
3:50 p.m.
A Duke Energy official says work crews were stationed to handle the damages from Hurricane Matthew, "but the punch was bigger" than expected and they had to double the number of workers to deal with outages.
Storm Director Bobby Simpson said Monday that the utility had resources in place and workers staged and lined up with what they expected to happen last weekend. But he said the storm's wrath exceeded expectations and led Duke to more than double the number of resources needed to handle the restoration of power. Now, Simpson said, more than 7,000 people are working to restore power and more are on the way.
Simpson said that as of Monday afternoon, about 430,000 customers were without power, down from a high of about 1.2 million at the height of Matthew. Of those, about 300,000 customers are in North Carolina and around 100,000 were in South Carolina.
2:45 p.m.
Georgia's utility companies say about 150,000 customers remained without power in southeast Georgia and along the state's coast as crews continue working to restore services after Hurricane Matthew. 
Georgia Power reports that more than 122,000 of its customers remained without power Monday. 
Separately, the state's electric membership cooperatives said about 27,000 of its customers were without power Monday. They said that's down from around 100,000 Saturday morning.
12:55 p.m.
President Barack Obama says the dangers from flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew continue and that the response is "far from over." 
Obama spoke by phone on Monday with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and with Obama's homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco. The White House says Obama emphasized that all needed federal resources should be directed to affected states. 
Fugate told the president that the response continues in North Carolina, where federal and state resources are supporting "thousands of water rescues." Fugate says the Carolinas will continue facing life-threatening conditions for days because of the flooding. 
The White House says Obama will be updated on the hurricane response throughout the week.
11:40 a.m.
Officials in North Carolina say two of five people reported missing around Fayetteville after Hurricane Matthew have been found safe.
But Cumberland County officials said in a news release that two other people around the city still haven't been seen in at least a day.
Authorities say 43-year-old Boris Abbey was last seen Saturday afternoon, while 45-year-old Christy Woods hasn't been seen since around 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
Gov. Pat McCrory says at least one other person is also missing in North Carolina.
So far, 10 people have died in North Carolina because of the hurricane. Most of them were in vehicles swept away by floodwaters.
   10:05 a.m.
Virginia officials are reporting one storm-related death after Hurricane Matthew. That brings the overall U.S. death toll from the storm to at least 21.
Officials in Virginia say the driver of a pickup truck was killed when the truck rear-ended a tractor trailer stopped for a downed tree on Interstate 64 in Chesapeake on Saturday.
Virginia Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Dawn Brantley said Monday that the death was storm-related, but the person hasn't been named. She says officials haven't yet determined whether the death of a man found in standing water in Hampton is storm-related.
Dominion Virginia Power says nearly 100,000 customers in Virginia are in the dark Monday, most of them in southeastern Virginia.
Hampton, Newport News, Suffolk, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach and Middlesex County have declared states of emergency.
The other deaths occurred in North Carolina, with 10; Florida, four; South Carolina, three; and Georgia, three.
  9:10 a.m.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says that the death toll in his state from Hurricane Matthew now stands at 10.
McCrory also said during a televised press conference Monday that 1,500 people remained stranded in the city of Lumberton, which is about 70 miles inland. Boats and helicopters have been deployed to rescue them. 
McCrory said that the Federal Aviation Administration has placed temporary flight restrictions over the city.
He asked operators of drones to keep them out of the airspace over flooded areas so they do not endanger helicopter teams. He also said that "inland flooding" remains the greatest threat to the state.
The additional fatalities in North Carolina bring to 20 the number of U.S. deaths from the hurricane.
   8:45 a.m.
Power is slowly being restored to the hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians left without power when Hurricane Matthew hit the state over the weekend. 
As of early Monday, utility outage maps show that just under a half million electric customers across the state were still in the dark. 
That's down from 625,000 on Sunday and about 825,000 at the height of the storm. 
Power companies say it may be several days before power can be restored to all electric customers across South Carolina.
Similar numbers were without power in North Carolina. North Carolina Emergency Management says about 491,000 residents were without service Monday morning. The state's largest utility, Duke Energy, had the biggest problems, with about 310,000 customers without service.
Matthew is long gone from the Atlantic coast early Monday, but the devastation lingers, most notably in North Carolina, where flooded cities are trying to dry out and those downstream are keeping a close eye on rising rivers.
The flooding disaster is forecast to slowly unfold over the next several days as all that rain -- more than a foot in places -- flows into rivers and downstream, likely causing more inundation in many of the same places devastated by a similar deluge from Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
Thousands of people found themselves suddenly trapped in homes and cars during the torrential rains. Rescuers in Coast Guard helicopters plucked some of them from rooftops and used military vehicles to reach others.
The storm killed more than 500 people in Haiti and at least 18 in the U.S.


5:00 p.m.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says that Matthew's winds are diminishing along the North Carolina coast but that water levels will remain elevated.
The center said in its 5 p.m. ET Sunday update that the center of the storm was about 200 miles (320 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and had maximum sustained winds of near 75 mph (120 kpm).
The center, in what will be its last update on the remnants of Matthew, says life-threatening flooding will continue over portions of eastern North Carolina that have received record rains from Matthew. 
President Barack Obama says his team is working to make sure that states are getting the resources they need from the federal government after Hurricane Matthew pounded the Southeast. 
Speaking at a political fundraiser in Chicago, Obama said that he has been in touch with the governors of Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. He tells people in those states that the government wants to make sure they know "we've got your back." 
 Matthew has killed at least 17 people in the U.S., nearly half of them in North Carolina. The Tar Heel state was inundated by torrential rains from the storm. 
 A bomb squad is at a South Carolina beach after Hurricane Matthew apparently unearthed old Civil War cannonballs from the sand. 
Charleston County Sheriff's spokesman Maj. Eric Watson said in a news release that the cannon balls were found on Folly Beach Sunday afternoon, but bomb squad members couldn't get to it immediately because of the rising tide. 
Once the ocean level goes down, Watson says technicians will make it safe. He warned residents might hear a small boom. 
The first shots of the Civil War were fired at nearby Fort Sumter in 1861. 
4:20 p.m.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says eight people have died after Hurricane Matthew smacked the state with torrential rains and authorities are searching for five people.
McCrory said Sunday afternoon that dangerous flooding will last into next week. 
Thousands of people had to be rescued from homes and businesses when Hurricane Matthew's torrential rains triggered severe flooding in North Carolina. Some were plucked from rooftops, others were clinging to trees and one woman and her small child were standing on their car as the rising waters swallowed it. 
The death toll in the U.S. climbed to at least 17 -- half of them in North Carolina. More than 500 were killed by the storm in Haiti.
3:55 p.m.
The rising Tar River is forcing the evacuation of Princeville, North Carolina, a town destroyed in flooding from Hurricane Floyd 17 years ago.
Edgecombe County announced on its Facebook page that a curfew will go into effect at 7 p.m. Sunday and they are bringing in buses to help get out the town's 2,000 residents.
The National Weather Service says the Tar River at nearby Tarboro is already nearly 6 feet above flood stage. It is forecast to crest Monday at nearly 36 feet, well into major flood stage but below the record 41.5-foot mark set in Floyd in 1999.
That flood destroyed nearly every one of the more than 700 homes in Princeville, the oldest town in the nation incorporated by freed slaves back in 1865.

1 p.m.

A second death related to Hurricane Matthew has been reported in South Carolina.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said in a news release Sunday that a man was found outside his nursing home in Columbia, pinned beneath his electric wheelchair and face-down in standing water from the rains of the storm. 
Watts said 66-year-old David L. Outlaw was found shortly before 8 a.m. Saturday. Outlaw was taken to Providence Northeast Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His was the second weather-related death in South Carolina. Overall, at least 16 people have died in the U.S. from the effects of Hurricane Matthew.
Watts said an autopsy indicated that Outlaw drowned. Watts said his office and the sheriff's department are investigating.
A woman who answered the phone at the center would not comment Sunday afternoon. 

10:45 a.m.

South Carolina has recorded its first fatality related to Hurricane Matthew and its aftermath.
Gov. Nikki Haley says the victim was in a car that was swept away in Florence County. More details weren't immediately available. 
That death brings to 15 the number of weather-related deaths in the U.S. from Matthew. Seven people died in North Carolina; three were killed in Florida. Four died in Georgia. Some were killed by falling trees, others by carbon monoxide fumes from a generator.
Haley says nearly 750,000 customers remain without power in the state, down from the peak of about 850,000. 
9:10 a.m.
North Carolina's governor says the death toll in his state from Hurricane Matthew has risen from three to seven.
Gov. Pat McCrory also said the state faces "major destruction" in the aftermath of the storm, and he is asking the federal government for help.
Water rescues are underway not only along coastal areas but inland as well.
Matthew was downgraded from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone early Sunday, but McCrory said that "the storm is not over for North Carolina."
The total U.S. death toll from the storm stands at 15. Four deaths were reported in Florida and three occurred in Georgia.
9:05 a.m.
Cumberland County officials say four people are missing in the flooding that resulted as Hurricane Matthew moved off the North Carolina coast.
Officials said that 574 people were saved in the county during 227 swift-water rescue missions Saturday and Sunday.
Officials also said that Cumberland County schools will be closed Monday as recovery from the storm continues.
County offices and courts will also be closed while flood waters recede.
8:20 a.m.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says hurricane-force wind gusts are battering North Carolina's Outer Banks, even though Matthew was downgraded from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone early Sunday.
The center said in its 8 a.m. ET Sunday update that the center of the storm was about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and had maximum sustained winds of near 75 mph (120 kpm).
A hurricane watch was still in effect for parts of coastal North Carolina, including Pamlico and Albemarle sounds, for the next 6 to twelve hours.
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) -- Matthew has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone as it continues what appears to be the last leg of its march up the East Coast.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its 5 a.m. ET Sunday update that the center of the storm was about 30 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and had sustained winds of about 75 mph (120 kpm).
The previous Category 5 hurricane had been weakening even as it lashed Georgia and the Carolinas on Saturday, leaving in its wake millions of Americans relieved that one of the most fearsome storms on record in the U.S. wasn't that bad after all. 
The hurricane was blamed for at least 10 deaths in the U.S., including that of a 68-year-old Georgia man who died when two trees fell on his home. And hundreds were left dead in Matthew's wake in Haiti.
By Saturday night, North Carolina felt the brunt of Matthew, with more than a foot of rain falling in the southeastern part of the state, causing life-threatening flash flooding.
8:15 p.m.
Matthew is still a weak hurricane off the North Carolina coast and is causing record-breaking flooding in the state.
At 8 p.m. EDT, the center of the storm was about 40 east of Cape Fear and had sustained winds of about 75 mph. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm is expected to weaken. 
Forecasters say they are receiving numerous reports of flooded homes, businesses and roads in Raleigh.
At least 10 people have been killed in the U.S., including three in North Carolina.
5:30 p.m.
 At least a couple of dozen people are stranded on Interstate 95 after their vehicles got caught on a stretch of road between two parts of the flooded highway.
North Carolina Highway Patrol Troopers are working to help 25 vehicles. The Department of Public Safety said Saturday that the vehicles were stuck but didn't offer further details. It said the motorists were near Wilson. 
Elsewhere, the Department of Transportation has closed stretches of Interstate 95 and parts of Interstate 40 after Hurricane Matthew drenched the state. 

3:10 p.m.
A third fatality related to harsh weather brought on by Hurricane Matthew has been reported in Georgia, bringing the U.S. death toll from the storm to 10.
Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police said in a statement Saturday that they are investigating the death of a man at his home, possibly from structural damage caused by a fallen tree.

Two other deaths in Georgia occurred in Bulloch County. Three deaths have been reported in North Carolina, and four have occurred in Florida.
Those numbers pale in comparison to Haiti, which counted 470 dead in one district alone when Hurricane Matthew swept through the Caribbean island as a Category 4 storm. It has since weakened to a Category 1.


2:50 p.m.
Five new deaths have been reported in the Southeast in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. That brings the death toll in the United States from the storm to nine.
Gov. Pat McCrory said Saturday that the hurricane killed three people in North Carolina.
McCrory said at a press conference that "this is a very, very serious and deadly storm."
In Georgia, Bulloch County deputy coroner Richard Pylant said two people died there. One of the casualties was a man in a wheelchair who died when two trees fell on his home.

Officials have previously reported four deaths in Florida.

1 p.m.
North Carolina officials say emergency responders have conducted eight water rescues from cars and homes in Cumberland County. More are expected as the threat from Hurricane Matthew increases.
Officials said in a news release Saturday that roads and drainage ditches in the county and Fayetteville are filling with water, making driving treacherous. Businesses are being encouraged to close early so workers can get home before additional roads become impassable.
The National Weather Service said 8.5 inches of rain have fallen in Fayetteville in about 12 hours, starting a midnight. The ground there was already saturated from heavy rains last week.
12:15 p.m. EDT 
Property data firm CoreLogic projects that Hurricane Matthew's grind across the Southeast will end up costing between $4 billion and $6 billion in insured losses on residential and commercial properties. 
The firm's estimate covers storm surge and wind damage, which it anticipates will account for 90 percent of insurance claims related to the storm. CoreLogic's estimate doesn't include insured property losses related to additional flooding, business interruption or other factors. 
The firm also projects that the hurricane will end up damaging roughly 1.5 million residential and commercial properties in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. 
Hurricane Matthew's estimated losses are a fraction of those racked up by Superstorm Sandy, which barreled into the Northeast in 2012, and Hurricane Katrina, which swept through Louisiana and nearby states in 2005. 
CoreLogic says Superstorm Sandy's insured property losses reached up to $20 billion, while Katrina's hit as high as $40 billion. 
Earlier this week, the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America, estimated that insurance claim payouts from damage caused by Hurricane Matthew would likely exceed $7.5 billion.
12:30 p.m.
The White House says President Barack Obama has spoken with the governors of the four states being hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew.
Obama spoke separately Saturday to Govs. Nathan Deal of Georgia, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Pat McCrory of North Carolina and Rick Scott of Florida. The White House says Obama reiterated his commitment to provide federal to help the states respond to the storm.
Obama had already declared emergencies in the four states and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal, and local response efforts.
Obama spoke with the governors from Chicago, where he is undertaking a round of fundraisers for Democratic candidates.
11:05 a.m.
The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Matthew has made landfall.
The center said in a news release Saturday morning that the storm's center made landfall just southeast of the town of McClellanville.
The NHC says a "serious inland flooding event" is taking place.
11 a.m.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is warning residents to watch for fraudulent emails that have shown up as Hurricane Matthew moved along the coast. 
The governor said Saturday that people are receiving emails stating that they have an update on power outages. Haley said the email provides a link to get the update. 
The governor said those who click on the link have opened their computer to hackers. 
Haley says it's important for people to be sure they recognize the sender of emails before opening them. She says those from unknown senders should be deleted.
10:25 a.m.
Cassandra Coleman says she and her boyfriend were driving along Georgia's President Street, which links downtown Savannah to Tybee Island, when they saw a woman wading through floodwaters early Saturday. 
It turned out to be a homeless woman whose tent got washed away when Hurricane Matthew struck.
The shivering woman made it to the water's edge. The woman identified herself as Valerie and said she was homeless. She said she had nine children but was unable to evacuate with them.
She said she weathered the storm under a tent near an overpass that crosses the low-lying road. But then floodwaters washed it away. 
"It wiped out our tent, our tarp and washed away all our blankets and clothes," she said. 
A bystander offered to assist her in finding help.
 9:30 a.m.
Hurricane Matthew's fury was being felt Saturday on Hilton Head Island, where power was out and the two roads onto the resort island were blocked by trees.
Water swamped roads in many areas, and there was extensive damage, much of it from the island's well-known pine trees. 
Chandler Brunson and her fiance were among several people on the island trying to make it back home after they evacuated. 
Brunson tried several different ways to get to her home in an SUV, but they were all blocked. 
"I think we're going to have a pine tree splitting our house," Brunson said. "That's what I'm afraid of." 
Emergency officials left the island Friday afternoon and had not returned at 8 a.m. Saturday

8 a.m.

Hurricane Matthew has weakened to a Category 1 storm but still remains a threat to the coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Saturday morning that Matthew was centered about 20 miles (30 kilometers) south-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina.

Its maximum sustained winds have dropped to 85 mph (140 kph), with hurricane-force winds extending up to 45 miles (75 kilometers) from the center.

Matthew's strong winds and storm surge were battering the South Carolina coast early Saturday, and heavy rain and high winds were spreading inland. The storm's center is expected to be near the coast of southern North Carolina by Saturday night.


4:25 a.m.

Hurricane Matthew is making itself felt in South Carolina. Hurricane-force winds are moving onshore at Hilton Head and Pritchards Island, South Carolina, the National Hurricane Center reports. At least one wind gust of 61 mph (98 kph) was recorded at Beaufort, South Carolina.

Matthew remains a Category 2 hurricane and is moving north off the coast, centered about 30 miles (130 km) south-southwest of Hilton Head.


2 a.m.

Hurricane Matthew continues to move north off the Georgia coast and its center is forecast to move near or over the South Carolina coast Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center reports. The Category 2 hurricane will near North Carolina's southern coast by Saturday night, the center says.

Matthew has sustained winds of 105 mph (165 kph), and is 45 miles (70 kilometers) south of Hilton Head, South Carolina. It is moving north about 12 mph (19 kph).


6:45 p.m.

Officials in Florida are cutting off all access to beachside portions of Flagler County after Hurricane Matthew washed away a portion of State Road A1A.

A news release says emergency workers will begin entering the area to rescue those who did not leave.

"This is not a curfew. No one will be permitted to enter the barrier island," Flagler County public safety emergency manager Steve Garten said in the release. "This will be enforced by the Flagler County Sheriff's Office."

A curfew will begin at 7 p.m. Friday on the mainland portions of the county.

"We don't want anyone on the beachside who doesn't need to be there," Flagler County Administrator Craig Coffey said in the release. "We need to be able to get an assist those people who are in the most need."


More than 1.1 million people are now without power in Florida after Hurricane Matthew steadily grinded its way up the east coast.

State officials released updated totals late Friday that showed the powerful storm had knocked out electricity over a long coastal stretch of the peninsula. One of the hardest hit areas is Volusia County where nearly 258,000 customers -- 92 percent of all customers -- were without power.

Nearly 200,000 people in Brevard County, the home to Cape Canaveral, were also without power along with nearly 132,000 customers in the Jacksonville area.

But the fury of the storm was strong enough that it has also caused outages in Central Florida. Nearly 150,000 customers who live in the Orlando area are without electricity.


6 p.m.

Authorities are now saying two people have died in the U.S. because of Hurricane Matthew.

The Putnam County, Florida, Sheriff's Office reported Friday that a woman was killed and a man was injured near Crescent City when a tree fell on their camper during the storm. 

A post on the sheriff's office Facebook page says the two adults were attempting to ride out the storm when high winds apparently caused the tree to fall. The man escaped with minor injuries, but the woman was killed.

Authorities didn't immediately name the victims.

Earlier Friday, Volusia County emergency management director Jim Judge reported the death of a woman after a tree fell on her house.

More than 300 people were killed in the Caribbean as a result of the hurricane, mostly in Haiti.


5:30 p.m.

The U.S. military is mobilizing to help Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew's destruction. 
The Navy said Friday that it's sending the USS Mesa Verde, an amphibious transport dock ship, toward the island where hundreds are reported dead. 
The ship is loaded with 300 Marines from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, one landing craft and three large helicopters. The Navy said they'll be able to quickly distribute relief. 
Lt. Jeffrey Prunera said two other ships, the USS George Washington aircraft carrier and the USS Comfort hospital ship, are awaiting further orders in the South Atlantic to possibly help as well. 
The military has established Joint Task Force Matthew to oversee its relief efforts. By Friday afternoon, 170 personnel and nine helicopters had already reached the country. 

4:45 p.m.

Hurricane Matthew has weakened slightly as it pounds Florida and crawls north along the Atlantic coast.

At 5 p.m. EDT Friday, the National Hurricane Center said Matthew had sustained winds of 110 mph (177 kph), making it a very powerful Category 2 storm.

At one point, Matthew reached the strongest Category 5 designation, but it has been slowly weakening as it has moved closer to Florida.

The storm left more than 300 people dead in the Caribbean and at least one person has died in Florida. More than 1 million homes and businesses are without power in the state.


4:30 p.m.

Emergency officials are reporting the first death in the U.S. directly caused by Hurricane Matthew.

Volusia County emergency management director Jim Judge says a tree fell on a woman's house in the county, which includes the city of Daytona Beach. Judge says her family took her to a hospital, where she Family took her to hospital, where she died.


4 p.m.

The steady march of Hurricane Matthew has left more than 1 million customers in Florida without power. 
State officials released updated totals on Friday that showed that the powerful Category 3 storm had knocked out electricity over a wide stretch of the state's eastern coast. Most of the customers in Flagler and Volusia County -- the home to Daytona Beach -- were without power. Other hard hit areas include Brevard and Indian River counties. 
The storm was strong enough to also cause outages in Central Florida. More than 100,000 who live in the Orlando area are without electricity. 
4 p.m. 
Several more communities on the South Carolina coast are imposing curfews as the winds and rains of Hurricane Matthew approach the state. The worse of the storm is expected to move in overnight and Matthew is expected to be just off Charleston about daybreak as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds. 
Charleston, North Charleston, and Mount Pleasant are all imposing curfews from midnight Friday through 6 a.m. on Saturday. Officials say they don't want people driving or walking around while law officers and emergency workers have to deal with issues related to the storm. 
In Beaufort County a curfew will be in effect from dusk Friday through dawn on Saturday.
4 p.m.
President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in North Carolina as Hurricane Matthew wreaks havoc on the East Coast.
The declaration puts the Homeland Security Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in charge of disaster relief efforts in the state, including providing equipment and needed resources.
Gov. Pat McCrory says he's about worried that the storm could lead to heavier rains than previously estimated at or near the coast, and cause power outages from high winds.
Obama has already declared states of emergency in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, the other states in Matthew's path.
4 p.m.
The city of Asheville may not have to endure the winds associated with Hurricane Matthew, but it's definitely experiencing a windfall.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports ( that with the hurricane menacing the Carolinas' coast, thousands of coastal residents fled their homes and vacation spots and decided to go to Asheville to enjoy the area's attractions, and as a result, boost the local economy.
Shane Harpham, a pediatric dentist from Bluffton, South Carolina, said his wife and two young children came up on Wednesday night. He said while it wasn't easy finding a room they found a motel and booked the last room it had.
Early October is already a popular time for travelers to visit Asheville, but adding hundreds or even thousands of evacuees has put a crunch on hotel rooms. 
4 p.m. 
With Hurricane Matthew leaving South Florida largely spared, the region's Haitian and Cuban communities are busy trying to help family and friends dealing with the storm's devastating rampage through the Caribbean. 
Haitian-American nurses and doctors who volunteered to go to Haiti were stranded at South Florida's airports as the storm passed. 
About 20 organizations collecting medicine, food, clothing and building supplies for Haiti at a Miami-area warehouse suspended activity Thursday. Sandy Dorsainvil is a Haitian-American community leader in Miami. She says volunteers eager to return to work waited in long lines at the Miami Gardens warehouse early Friday. 
3:30 p.m. 
Officials say U.S. military assets are heading to Haiti to provide assistance after Hurricane Matthew killed hundreds of people in the impoverished country.
Hurricane response task force commander Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle told reporters that nine U.S. military helicopters have already arrived or will arrive later Friday, and three others could be available from a transport ship. He said that there are currently about 250 U.S. troops in Haiti and another 100 could go in over the next day or so.
Later Friday, a U.S. official said amphibious transport ship The USS Mesa Verde had been dispatched to the Haiti mission. The official said it will head for Haiti once it moves out of the way of the storm. The official was not authorized to discuss the ship's movement publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.
After flying over the area Friday, Pringle described the damage as "pretty extensive," with homes and other buildings leveled. He says the main damage has come from the high winds, mudslides and flooding. 
The central government's official death toll stood at nearly 300, but authorities doing the on-ground assessment in remote corners of the southwestern peninsula said it would likely be significantly higher when the full accounting was complete.
By Associated Press Writer Lolita C. Baldor.
3:30 p.m. 
NASA spokesman George Diller says NASA's Kennedy Space Center has been spared major damage from Hurricane Matthew.
Diller says recovery team members won't be out in full force until Saturday, but a preliminary inspection showed limited roof and door damage, and some water intrusion. 
Diller was among 116 NASA, Air Force and contractor personnel who rode out the storm at the space center, which remained closed to everyone else. He reported some power outages, along with a loss of air conditioning and water pressure in some buildings, and scattered debris. Otherwise, the space center appeared to weather the storm fairly well, experiencing a minimal storm surge. 
Kennedy is no longer an active launching site; the space shuttles have been retired for five years. Both former shuttle launch pads, however, are being refurbished, one by NASA for its future Space Launch System rockets meant to carry astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit, and the other by private company SpaceX. 
3:15 p.m. 
Charleston is imposing a curfew starting at midnight Friday and extending until 6 a.m. Saturday as Hurricane Matthew moves along the South Carolina coast. 
Police Chief Greg Mullen told a news conference Friday that officials expect unusually high tides driven by the storm along with the torrential rains that Matthew is expected to bring. He said no cars or pedestrians will be allowed on the streets during the overnight period. 

2:45 p.m.

St. Augustine, Florida, Mayor Nancy Shaver says the 451-year-old city is experiencing widespread flooding from Hurricane Matthew.  The Category 3 storm battered the city much of Friday with waves and storm surge that could top 8 feet.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Shaver said the flooding "is just going to get higher and higher and higher."

The mayor said roughly half of St. Augustine's 14,000 residents chose to stay in their homes. No injuries or deaths had been reported as of Friday afternoon, but the mayor said it will be several hours before authorities can get out and begin damage assessments.

She said damage will be "widespread" and "there are houses that will probably not ever be the same again or not even be there."

One silver lining, she said, is that the worst of the surge did not occur at high tide, which was around 1:30 p.m. Friday.


1:30 p.m.

Despite a mandatory evacuation order for the 3,000 people who live on Tybee Island in Georgia, about 100 people have decided to ride out the storm.

Some of them on Friday had bellied up to the bar at Nickie's 1971, located about a block away from Georgia's largest beach.

Owner Calvin Ratterree says he's worried about the powerful storm that's already drenching parts of the Georgia coast with heavy rains. But he says a friend has a third-floor condo across the street that he and his dozen or so customers can flee to if necessary.

Steve Todd was having a drink at Ratterree's bar before lunch Friday. He said his wife and child evacuated, but he stayed to try to protect their home and belongings.

Island residents were ordered to evacuate Wednesday. Most left, some of them hitting the road at the last minute Friday.

Tybee Island councilman Monty Parks was out Friday morning offering rides to a few stragglers who wanted to leave but had no transportation to the mainland.

He said he was trying to make sure everyone got out, "but there are people that are diehards."

Parks estimated that 100 or more people were insisting on braving out the storm on the island.


1:30 p.m.

Prison officials in Georgia announced that they had moved more than 1,500 inmates from facilities in coastal counties to other lockups farther inland as Hurricane Matthew approaches.

Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Homer Bryson announced Friday that 1,286 inmates at Coastal State Prison and 257 offenders housed at Coastal Transitional Center had been moved from those Chatham County facilities by 7:30 a.m. Friday.

The transfer of prisoners came as a result of Gov. Nathan Deal's mandatory evacuation order for anyone east of Interstate 95.

Bryson said offenders will be moved back to the coastal facilities once his staff has had a chance to assess any potential damage and has determined conditions are safe.


1:30 p.m.

Officials in coastal Georgia's southernmost county have announced a curfew ahead of Hurricane Matthew.

The curfew in Camden County begins Friday at 10 p.m. and ends at 6 a.m. on Saturday. County Sheriff Jim Proctor says he'll decide whether to extend the curfew on a day-to-day basis.

Proctor says he hopes a curfew will keep people indoors overnight and prevent injuries.

Glynn County, located just north of Camden, announced a midnight to 5 a.m. curfew on Thursday. Glynn County officials have said the curfew will be in place each night of the weekend, ending Monday at 5 a.m.


12:30 p.m. 

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says the forecast for the state appears to have gotten worse: There are now hurricane warnings for the entire coast and the latest projections from the National Hurricane Center show the center of the storm very close to the coast near Charleston early Saturday morning. Earlier projections had the hurricane farther offshore.

 At a news conference Friday, Haley warned residents that South Carolina is now looking at major winds, major storm surges, and flooding that could compare to the historic floods of last October. Power outages are also expected.

Haley said an estimated 310,000 people have now fled from coastal areas and said "this is the last time you will hear my voice when I am asking you to evacuate." She said everybody along the coast needs to consider getting inland.


12:30 p.m.

While everyone else is fleeing inland, two 18-year-old storm chasers drove nearly 1,000 miles from New Jersey to St. Augustine, Florida, to watch Hurricane Matthew roll past.

Lucio Bottieri of Jackson, New Jersey said Friday that he has "an obsession with severe weather: snowstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, anything crazy that most people wouldn't go toward."

Jackson says that while he rode out Hurricane Sandy at home four years ago, this week was the first time he's traveled to see a hurricane.

He says his mom was "really against my trip," and most of his friends thought it was a bad idea too -- except one: Bailey Lilienkamp.

 Packing canned food, snacks, bottled water and a first aid kit, the pair left early Thursday morning and drove straight through to St. Augustine.

As winds and rains from Matthew battered the coast, they stood by a seawall at the Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th-century Spanish fort. Salt water blasted into the air and hard, driving rain pelted them, prompting them to go back to their hotel for a break.

They vowed to venture out again, however.


12:30 p.m.

Humans aren't the only ones hunkering down as Hurricane Matthew batters Florida. A stork has apparently found refuge in a zoo bathroom.

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park has shared a photo of a marabou stork inside a bathroom at the facility. The zoo's Facebook page jokes in the caption, "No species discrimination in this bathroom!" -- an apparent reference to a law in North Carolina that obligates students to use public school bathrooms conforming to the gender on their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.

The stork isn't the only animal taking cover from the storm. The zoo also shared photos of young alligators swimming indoors in plastic tubs and other birds walking around freely inside a building.

 The zoo says it has moved all of its birds and mammals inside.


12:30 p.m.

On Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, some residents who had decided to evacuate were running down for a last look at the angry sea as the rains and winds from Hurricane Matthew increased.

William Frank and Heather Wilson rode their moped a half-mile to Coligny Beach on Friday, using Facebook live to show the already unusually high surf to family back in Athens, Georgia, and to promise they would be on the last bus out to evacuate at noon.

Frank said they wanted to take a look at Mother Nature's power.

Every few minutes, another person or two would walk down the boardwalk to the sand. Most took selfies or videos, then hustled back to their cars before the rains picked up again.

Marcos Reyes brought his dog, who seemed skeptical about the rain, strong winds and surf. He too was evacuating, but reluctantly, to his parents' home about 25 miles inland.

Reyes said he would like to stay and watch, but he said his parents would kill him.


12:15 p.m.

Robin and Greg Bontrager's preparations for Hurricane Matthew involved a lot of rope.

The couple lives year-round on their 42-foot Hunter sailboat named "Always and Forever," and for the last two years they've docked in Brunswick, Georgia, from June through November.

The Bontragers found space at a motel in the city after having two other reservations canceled due to evacuation orders. They removed any loose items from the boat, including sails and canvas, and double-tied it to the dock.

Robin Bontrager said they're both retired schoolteachers who decided life was too short to skip adventures. She was emotional Friday as rain poured down around Dock 3 where their boat will ride out the hurricane, surrounded by several other boats that are full-time homes to fellow "cruisers."

Robin Bontrager said that while "it's tough to leave your home ... things can be replaced."

Her life, her husband's life -- and the couples' two dogs who sail along with them -- can't be.


11:45 a.m.

Police officers and firefighters were returning to roads in Brevard County, Florida, on Friday morning to assess hurricane damage.

Over half the county -- 174,000 customers -- had lost power.

The National Weather Service office in Melbourne reported wind gusts as strong as 107 mph Friday morning. Flood warnings were expected to continue through 11:30 a.m. Friday for parts of Seminole, Brevard and Volusia counties.

All causeways to the barrier islands and beachside communities remained closed for the Florida Department of Transportation to conduct assessments of the bridges for structural integrity.

The Brevard County Board of Commissioners urged residents to be patient as authorities assess the storm's impact, and warned that "resuming normalcy will take some time." 


11:15 a.m.

Officials on the Georgia coast are warning that time is running out to flee Hurricane Matthew.

Chatham County emergency management director Dennis Jones told a news conference in Savannah on Friday morning that people had just a few more hours before powerful winds start hitting. He said "Once the wind starts blowing, we're pulling all emergency services off the street." Savannah police said they also will enforce a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

All emergency responders left Tybee Island earlier Friday as increasingly heavy rains at high tide threatened to flood the only road to the mainland.

Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman (BELL-ter-man) was taking names of people believed to remain on the island and had police officers calling them. Buelterman attributed some people's complacency to the fact that the area hasn't had a major storm for some time.

He remarked: "This is what happens when you don't get hit by a hurricane for 100 years."

Tybee Island resident Jeff Dickey had been holding out hope that the forecast might shift and spare his waterfront home, but by Friday morning Matthew was still on track to hug the Georgia coast, so he decided not to take any chances.

With soaking rain from Matthew's outer bands already falling, he loaded a diesel-powered generator into his pickup truck.

Most of the island's 3,000 residents had evacuated over the past two days. Dickey, his mother and his two daughters were among several last-minute evacuees leaving Tybee Island early Friday.


11:15 a.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard has closed the Port of Charleston as Hurricane Matthew approaches South Carolina. The agency says no vessels may leave Charleston or enter the port.

The Coast Guard also announced that its smaller boats have been removed from the water and larger ones have moved to safe harbor.

The Coast Guard said it will be suspending search-and-rescue missions during the height of the storm and its helicopters will not be flying.

Tropical storm force winds are expected to be felt along the South Carolina coast later Friday.


11:15 a.m.

Senior hurricane specialist Lixion Avila says Hurricane Matthew's most intense winds have fortunately remained "a short distance offshore," but Florida's coast isn't in the clear yet.

The hurricane center says the western eyewall, where the most intense winds are found, was expected to cross over or very near the coasts of northeastern Florida and Georgia on Friday.

Avila noted that it would take "only a small deviation to the left" to bring the winds onshore.

Avila said people riding out the storm in high-rise buildings will experience stronger winds than people sheltering at ground level. At the top of a 30-story building, Matthew's winds could reach speeds of 130 mph or more -- Category 4 strength, even if the hurricanes winds at the surface only sustain Category 3 strength.

Forecasters say storm surge and inland flooding remain potentially life-threatening hazards even if Matthew remains offshore.


11 a.m.

President Barack Obama is warning that Matthew is "still a really dangerous hurricane."

Meeting in the Oval Office on Friday with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Obama said he was concerned about storm surge and that as the hurricane moves north, areas such as Jacksonville, Florida, and Georgia might be less prepared.

Obama told those living in affected areas that, "If they tell you to evacuate, you need to get out of there and move to higher ground."

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."

The president pleaded with people to listen to the warnings of state emergency personnel "because we can always replace property, but we cannot replace lives."


10:45 a.m.

Hurricane Matthew continues to cause problems for travelers, with 4,500 flights canceled so far between Wednesday and Saturday, according to tracking service FlightAware.

All flights to and from Orlando have been canceled Friday and half scrapped Saturday. FlightAware expects that number to rise. Orlando's world-famous theme parks -- Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld -- all closed due to the storm.

As the storm moves north, so do cancellations, with Atlanta, Charleston and Savannah taking the largest hits.

Airports in Southern Florida are reopening, however, with flights expected to resume at midday. Airlines moved planes and crews out of the storm's path and must now fly them back into the region.

American Airlines saw its first arrival at its Miami hub at 9:05 a.m. with a flight from Sao Paulo.


10:30 a.m.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is cautioning Floridians that Hurricane Matthew could still do substantial damage before it passes by the northeast end of the state.

Scott on Friday warned that while the main eye of the storm has remained offshore as it brushes the eastern coast, it could still bring tremendous damage and flooding, especially to low-lying areas along the St. Johns River, including downtown Jacksonville.

Scott said the hurricane "still has time to do a direct hit" and he remarked that "the worst part of this is yet to come."

Hurricane Matthew approached the state overnight, bringing damaging winds and lots of rain. State officials said that as of 9 a.m. there were nearly 600,000 people without power. Some of the hardest hit counties were Brevard, Indian River and Volusia, where more than half of the customers in those counties were without power.

State officials during an internal emergency management briefing said they anticipated that more than 1 million Floridians could eventually be without power.


10:15 a.m.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says he's worried about current projections of Hurricane Matthew that show the storm could lead to heavier rains than previously estimated at or near the coast and power outages from high winds.

McCrory said Friday morning that rainfall totals could exceed a foot in parts of southeastern North Carolina, with the most activity Friday night through Sunday morning. He said in a storm media briefing that wind gusts could push above 65 mph and that citizens should be prepared to remain without electricity for some time because utilities may have to focus first on other affected regions.

He says the North Carolina National Guard and emergency equipment are being assembled, including high-water vehicles and swift-water rescue teams. The state also is providing a helicopter rescue team and other resources to South Carolina. McCrory says a mobile hospital unit is ready to go to Florida when it's safe to do so.

At Fort Bragg, soldiers are prepared to deploy on short notice if they are called to assist those who suffer from damage or other problems because of the hurricane.


9:50 a.m.

Humans aren't the only ones hunkering down as Hurricane Matthew batters Florida. A stork has apparently found refuge in a zoo bathroom.

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park has shared a photo of a marabou stork inside a bathroom at the facility. The zoo's Facebook page jokes in the caption, "no species discrimination in this bathroom!"

The stork isn't the only animal taking cover from the storm. The zoo also shared photos of young alligators swimming indoors in plastic tubs and other birds walking around freely inside a building.

The zoo says it has moved all of its birds and mammals inside.


9:30 a.m.

Georgia transportation officials are closing a bridge that is one of the main routes between the mainland and the barrier islands off Brunswick in anticipation of high winds from Hurricane Matthew.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said in a news release that the Sidney Lanier Bridge would close at 10 a.m. Friday and would remain closed at least until strong winds subside.

The state's tallest cable-stayed suspension bridge, the Sidney Lanier Bridge is a primary route to the Golden Isles -- including Jekyll Island, Sea Island, St. Simons Island and Little St. Simons Island -- from Interstate 95.

Transportation officials say high winds, particularly at the bridge's elevation, would likely make it difficult for drivers to control their vehicles, so the bridge is being closed for the safety of the public.


9:30 a.m.

Winds from Hurricane Matthew blew off the door of Darrell Etheridge's garage and tore down the banister to his upstairs neighbor's apartment, but the Vero Beach resident said the storm was no big deal.

Etheridge stayed in his apartment about two blocks from the ocean during the storm.

He said the winds howling "sounded like a pack of wolves," but added, "I got off damn good."

There was no flooding and he had power for most of the night Thursday, only losing cable TV.

As he put it, "It was nothing. It felt like nothing."

Vero Beach is south of the Melbourne/Cape Canaveral area.


9:15 a.m.

Early Friday, NASA reported what appeared to be mostly minor damage at Kennedy Space Center.

An office building suffered some roof damage, and parked cars had damage as well.

NASA spokesman George Diller, part of the 116-person ride out crew, said there have been some spotty power outages on site, and loss of air conditioning and water pressure in places.


9 a.m.

A sheriff's spokesman says hundreds of callers are dialing 911 as Hurricane Matthew pounds central Florida's coastline.

Volusia County Sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson says at least four callers reported trees falling onto their homes in the Daytona Beach area after 7:30 a.m. Friday.

In one case, Davidson says a neighbor told dispatchers that the family got out safely after a tree collapsed on a home in Daytona Beach.

 Another caller reported ceiling damage after a tree fell onto a house in nearby Ormond Beach.

No injuries were reported in any of these cases.


8:45 a.m.

Rains from the outer bands of Hurricane Matthew are already spinning onto the South Carolina coast. And the National Weather Service says that tropical storm force winds of more than 40 mph will begin raking the coast on Friday afternoon - extending farther into inland areas Friday evening.

Although Matthew is projected to stay offshore, sustained hurricane gusts of 80 mph are expected on the immediate coast. Forecasters say winds from the storm likely will damage trees and weaker structures and bring widespread power outages.

The forecast calls for between 8 and 14 inches of rain in places along the coast with as much as 4 inches in locations father inland. Dangerous waves and rip currents are expected along the coast during the storm with storm surge of 4 to 8 feet.

Meanwhile Joint Base Charleston has been closed until further notice the hurricane approaches. The base consists of Charleston Air Force Base, the Charleston Naval Weapons station and two other facilities near Charleston.


8:20 a.m.

The time has been set for the Georgia-South Carolina football game in Columbia on Sunday that was rescheduled because of the threat of Hurricane Matthew.

South Carolina officials announced late Thursday that the game will be played at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

The game had been scheduled Saturday night in Columbia but is being delayed because of Hurricane Matthew.

School officials say they consulted with Georgia and the Southeastern Conference before making the decision.

Officials say they are consulting with the governor's office and state and local law enforcement. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said earlier this week that state troopers would not be available to help with traffic for the game. But Richland County sheriff's deputies and Columbia police are expected to help.

The school says it will be able to handle traffic, security and other game day operations.


8 a.m.

Robert Tyler had feared a storm surge flooding his street, which is only two blocks from the Cape Canaveral beach.

But he and his wife, Georgette, felt fortunate Friday morning when they looked out the front door of their one-story cinder block apartment and there wasn't much water.

The oak trees held up. Tree branches littered the road and he could hear the transformers blowing up overnight. But his home didn't appear to have damage on first inspection and his vehicles were unharmed.

He says it was "scary as heck" overnight, adding that at one point "it felt like the windows were going to blow even though they all were covered with plywood."

In the end, he says he's just "glad we didn't hear the ocean coming down our street."


7:25 a.m.

Officials say people who refused to evacuate from central Florida's Atlantic coast are calling for help now as Hurricane Matthew's western eyewall brushes past Cape Canaveral.

Brevard County Emergency Operations spokesman David Waters said early Friday that more than 100,000 people in the area had lost power.

Mandatory evacuation orders had been issued for 90,000 people living on barrier islands and in mobile homes and low-lying areas. Waters says some residents who refused to leave now find themselves cut off as they face the worst of the hurricane.

He says a family called in that the roof "just flew off their home on Merritt Island."

Waters says people will just have to stay put for now and do the best they can until conditions improve and paramedics and firefighters can be dispatched to help them. He spoke by phone from the county's emergency operations center, which was running a backup generator because it had lost electricity.

Along with the power outages, the water supply to the barrier islands was cut off to avoid compounding the storm flooding if the system got damaged.

Waters says he has talked to other families who have said things like, "We're scared. We wish we hadn't stayed."

More than 360,000 in Florida are without power Friday morning.


6:10 a.m.

The western edge of Hurricane Matthew's eyewall is brushing Florida's coast at Cape Canaveral.

The National Hurricane Center said at 6 a.m. EDT Friday that during the last hour, a wind gust of 100 mph occurred in Cape Canaveral.

The Category 3 storm is centered about 25 miles east of Cape Canaveral and is moving north-northwest at 14 mph.

More than 300,000 in Florida are without power Friday morning.


5:45 a.m.

In Geneva, the international Red Cross announced an emergency appeal for $6.9 million Friday to provide medical aid, shelter, water, and sanitation assistance to 50,000 people in southwestern Haiti, which was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew.

UNICEF says it needs $5 million to meet children's immediate needs in Haiti.

The World Food Program said it has enough food on the ground for 300,000 people for a month, and was deploying its best logisticians to help distribute it.

Matthew left more than 280 dead in its wake across the Caribbean and is now battering Florida's east coast with high winds and rain.


5:05 a.m.

Hurricane Matthew is just offshore of Florida's east coast Friday morning.

But the National Hurricane Center says the Category 3 storm's western eyewall is approaching Cape Canaveral with hurricane-force winds.

As of 5 a.m. EDT Friday, Matthew is centered about 40 miles east-southeast of Cape Canaveral and is moving north-northwest near 13 mph.

More than 270,000 in Florida are without power.

Two million people were warned to flee inland as the most powerful storm to threaten the Atlantic coast in more than a decade charged toward Florida. Matthew left more than 280 dead in its wake across the Caribbean.


4 a.m.

The western edge of Hurricane Matthew's eyewall is approaching Cape Canaveral early Friday as the storm batters Florida's coast with howling wind and driving rain.

The Category 3 storm is threatening to make a direct hit on Florida as it moves up the coast.

   But even though the eye is still off-shore, Florida is already seeing strong winds. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says sustained winds of 46 mph and a gust of 70 mph have been reported in Melbourne, Florida.

More than 240,000 in Florida are without power.

Two million people were warned to flee inland as the most powerful storm to threaten the Atlantic coast in more than a decade charged toward Florida. Matthew left more than 280 dead in its wake across the Caribbean.


2:20 a.m.

Hurricane Matthew's howling wind and driving rain pummeled Florida early Friday, starting what's expected to be a ruinous, dayslong battering of the Southeast coast. The strongest winds were just offshore, but Matthew's wrath still menaced more than 500 miles of coastline.

Matthew weakened slightly Friday morning to a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds near 120 mph. But the U.S. National Hurricane Center says it's expected to remain a powerful hurricane as it moves closer to Florida's coast.

Two million people were warned to flee inland as the most powerful storm to threaten the Atlantic coast in more than a decade charged toward Florida. Matthew left more than 280 dead in its wake across the Caribbean.

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