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Florida Governor Calls Up Additional National Guard Members

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has activated an additional 1,000 members of the Florida National Guard -- bringing the total to 3,500.

Scott said the National Guard will "play a big role in important life-saving missions. I have directed them to focus on pre-positioning resources, assist with helping people evacuate safely and our sheltering operations. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, they will be involved in recovery efforts including search and rescue missions."

“While the federal government has just approved our request for a pre-landfall emergency declaration for food, water and tarps, I am asking the president for additional generators and pumps to help with power outages and flooding once the storm hits," Scott added in the statement.

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Hurricane Matthew's U.S. Death Toll Rises to 19

The U.S. toll from Hurricane Matthew rose as more deaths were reported Sunday, raising the number to 19.

Authorities reported:

* Eight in North Carolina: two in Sampson County, two in Bladen County, two in Johnston County and one in Pitt County, as well as an eighth for which details weren't available Sunday.

* Three in Georgia: two in Bulloch County and one in Chatham County.

* Five in Florida: one in Putnam County, one in Volusia County and threein St. Lucie County.

* Three in South Carolina: two in Florence County and one in Richland County.

Image: Hurricane Matthew flooding in North Carolina
Paye Funeral Home and Cremations in Fayetteville, N.C., is damaged by flooding Sunday from Hurricane Matthew. Caitlin Penna / EPA

U.S. Death Toll From Hurricane Matthew Hits 11

The death toll related to Hurricane Matthew hit 11 in the southeastern U.S. on Saturday as the Category 1 storm barreled up the coast.

North Carolina saw three deaths, Gov. Pat McCrory said.

In Georgia, three people were killed. A 28-year-old man died when a tree fell and crushed his vehicle and another man died when two trees fell on his home, according to Bulloch County deputy coroner Richard Plyant. Another man also died when a tree fell on his house in Chatham, according to police.

Five deaths were reported in Florida, where Matthew left about 1 million people without power. 

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Saturday that no deaths had been reported in her state, but more than 437,303 utility customers lost power and about 6,600 residents remained in shelters after the storm dropped 14 inches of rain on some parts along the coast.

Image:
An official vehicle navigates debris as it passes along Highway A1A after it was partially washed away by Hurricane Matthew, Oct. 7, in Flagler Beach, Florida. Eric Gay / AP

Residents in N.C. County Warned to Shelter in Place

Residents of Cumberland County, North Carolina, were being told to shelter in place Saturday afternoon as Hurricane Matthew pummeled the state with heavy winds and rain.

County officials said driving conditions were "treacherous" as roadways filled with water after 8-1/2 inches of rain fell Saturday morning.

statement from Cumberland County officials said eight people had already been rescued from floodwaters. 

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said Saturday that the hurricane killed three people in the state.

Obama Promises Aid to Storm-Battered States

President Barack Obama spoke with the governors of four southeast states where Hurricane Matthew was wreaking destruction Saturday, the White House said.

Obama committed federal aid to Govs. Nathan Deal of Georgia, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Pat McCrory of North Carolina and Rick Scott of Florida. He had already declared emergencies in those states. 

Matthew made landfall in South Carolina as a Category 1 storm at about 11 a.m. ET, according to the National Hurricane Center.

More than 437,303 customers across the state were without power, while 250,000 customers were also in the dark in coastal Georgia.

Many in North Carolina, especially in Cumberland County, were being urged to shelter in place as rain from the storm flooded roads and houses.

The Florida coast was not as hard-hit as anticipated, but four people in the state were killed and about 1 million were without power, Scott said.

More than 200,000 Without Power in Georgia

Georgia Power was reporting "widespread outages throughout South East Georgia due to Hurricane Matthew" as of 6 a.m. ET Saturday.

The utility listed these counties as being affected by the outage.

County Customers Affected

  • Chatham Co. 137,000
  • Camden Co. 11,700
  • Glynn Co. 42,000
  • McIntosh Co. 4,100
  • Liberty Co. 9,700
  • Bryan Co. 5,600
  • Effingham Co. 27,800
  • Wayne Co. 5,000

"Storm surge related to Hurricane Matthew set a record, with measurements at Tybee Island showing 12.5 feet. The previous record was set in 1979 when Hurricane David pushed sea levels to 12.2 feet," Georgia's Chatham Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.

Hurricane Could Weaken to Category 1 by Saturday Night

The eyewall of Hurricane Matthew scraped Georgia and South Carolina's shores early Saturday, bringing 70-to-90 mph wind gusts and major storm surges — but the forecast increasingly suggested the eye may not hit land.

“The actual center of circulation may not technically make landfall. Regardless of whether it makes landfall, the weather is going to the be the same," said Weather Channel meteorologist Michael Palmer. 

It’s currently a Category 2 hurricane and is expected to weaken further, possibly to a Category 1 by Saturday night, when it will probably hit North Carolina, Palmer added.

The storm is expected to continue moving north-northeast, parallel to the coast, through Saturday.

Tornado Warning Issued for Counties in North Carolina

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus and Pender Counties in North Carolina early on Saturday, The Weather Channel reported. 

The warnings would last until 7:30 a.m. ET. 

Hurricane Matthew Nears Landfall in South Carolina

Hurricane Matthew approached landfall in South Carolina early Saturday morning, bringing flash flooding, high winds and storm surges all along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts.

Forecasters predicted that Matthew could make landfall between Fripp Island and Isle of Palms in southern South Carolina. It was expected to near the coast in the southern portion of North Carolina by Saturday evening, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of 5 a.m. ET, it was about 62 miles south-southwest of historic Charleston, South Carolina, and moving toward the north-northeast near 12 mph. The NHC reported maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, with gusts between 90 and 100 mph expected in Tybee Island off the northeast coast of Charleston County.

The eye of the hurricane brought dangerous conditions along the coast, with flash flooding, wind damage and storm surge posing serious threats to the area. The NHC continued to urge residents to stay indoors.

Hilton Head and Savannah Blasted with High Winds

Hurricane Matthew Threatens Historic Savannah, St. Augustine and Charleston

Hurricane Matthew threatened some of the South's most historic and picturesque cities with flooding and wind damage as it pushed up the coastline early Saturday. 

St. Augustine in Florida, Savannah in Georgia and Charleston in South Carolina were among the cities in the cross hairs. 

The Weather Channel reported:

  • The worst damage from the storm would come as high tide rolls in during the early hours of Saturday
  • Savannah, Georgia, was seeing the highest water level in recorded history
  • South Carolina has not had a hurricane warning since 2004
  • Four South Carolina counties were under tornado watch as of 4 a.m. ET

The National Hurricane Center last tracked the storm near Savannah, heading north toward the coast at 12 mph while packing maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.