Florida Sheriff: We'll Need Body Bags If People Don't Evacuate
The top lawman in a Florida county that could get walloped by Hurricane Matthew warned Thursday that they'll need body bags if the holdouts who refuse to evacuate don't get out of town.
"People do not seem to get it and are not leaving," a frustrated Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said. "I'm not saying this to be theatrical ... I asked my captain of detectives if he had body bags because if we get 140 mph winds in mobile home parks, we are going to have fatalities."
Further north, in St. Lucie County, Sheriff Ken Mascara said Matthew is not a storm to take lightly.
"We've dealt with storms in the past," he said. "We've dealt with [Hurricanes] Charley, Frances, Jean, Wilma. This is like none of those."
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.
A 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.
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.
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.
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.
Third Death in Florida Reported Amid Hurricane Matthew
A third death in Florida has been reported as Hurricane Matthew lashed the state’s Atlantic coast.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said it was called to a tree that fell on a camper trailer during high winds at 3 p.m., and a woman inside was killed.
A man inside the trailer escaped with minor injuries. The pair was trying to ride out the storm when the tree fell, the sheriff’s office said.
In Volusia County, a woman in her 60s was killed by a falling tree after she went outside to feed her animals, possibly while the eye of the hurricane was offshore, which could have created a deceptive break in the weather, an official with the county emergency management agency said.
A woman in her 50s in St. Lucie County died after suffering a cardiac arrest overnight after emergency personnel temporarily stopped operations due to wind gusts, authorities said.
Power Outages in Florida Grow to 1.1 Million After Hurricane Lashes Coast
The number of power outages in Florida due to Hurricane Matthew rose to more than 1.1 million Friday, authorities said.
The number of customers without power had been around a half million Friday morning, but swelled as the hurricane raked the state’s Atlantic coast as it moved north.
By 6 p.m. Friday 1,118,275 were without power, according to information from Gov. Rick Scott’s office. Three deaths in Florida may be tied to the hurricane, officials said.
Obama Declares State of Emergency in North Carolina
President Obama signed an emergency declaration for North Carolina Friday afternoon, joining Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
The Department of Homeland Security, along with FEMA, will coordinate disaster relief, per a press release.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory requested a federal disaster declaration on Monday.
“I urged our federal partners to move quickly on this request for assistance, and they did,” said NC Gov. Pat McCrory. “This declaration makes federal resources available to help local and state government agencies respond to the potential disaster and gives quick access to stockpiles of disaster supplies like bottled water and meals that FEMA has already staged at Fort Bragg.”
Clinton, Trump Briefed By DHS, FEMA on Hurricane
The Department of Homeland Security and FEMA have briefed Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton by phone Friday on Hurricane Matthew's impacts and federal responses, DHS said in a press release.
Clinton was briefed at 12:15 p.m. on Friday by DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and FEMA Deputy Administrator Joseph Nimmich, an aide told NBC News.
They discussed the storm's trajectory, the threats to low-lying areas and population centers, and the government's response, the Clinton aide said. Clinton expressed appreciation for FEMA's work to prepare for the hurricane and said she was committed to ensuring the agency had the tools and resources it needed to respond to disasters, the aide said.
NASA Team Riding Out the Storm
A team of 116 employees from NASA, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and their commercial space partners are riding out the storm at the Kennedy Space Center's Emergency Operations Center.
George Diller, a public affairs officer at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, told NBC News Friday afternoon initial damage inspections have started since he said the wind is below 50 knots.
"It's mostly roof damage and other collateral damage like windows and doors, but no major damage to the major facilities and none to flight hardware, including the GOES-R weather satellite, Orion or the Boeing commercial crew vehicle," he said.
One Death Confirmed After Hurricane Stops Emergency Crews
A woman aged in her late 50s died overnight after suffering a heart attack not long after a Florida fire department stopped responding to calls due to Hurricane Matthew.
The St. Lucie County Fire Department had earlier ceased operations due to wind gusts. Officials did not immediately release further details about the woman.
Mayor Linda Hudson of Fort Pierce, the county seat of St. Lucie County, told MSNBC on Friday morning that the city sustained "very little damage."
She added: "This is a very grateful community as we wake up this morning."