Hurricane Matthew leaves almost 1.2 mln in US Southeast powerless

Owen Stevens
October 20, 2016

Florida faced the most unsafe storm in living memory as Hurricane Matthew moved in from the Atlantic, threatening coastal cities with surging tides, torrential rain and 130 mile-an-hour winds.

Haiti has borne the brunt of the storm as Matthew tore through the Caribbean earlier this week as a Category 4 storm.

Hurricane Matthew sideswiped Florida's Atlantic coast early Friday, toppling trees onto homes and knocking out power to more than 800,000 people but sparing some of the most heavily populated stretches of shoreline.

In an e-mail message, Farley said Comcast has increased staffing in Florida, Georgia and SC, placing employees, additional equipment and generators throughout the region to help resolve issues quickly when it is safe to do so.

President Obama signed major disaster declarations, which provide more federal money and resources than emergency declarations, for Florida and Georgia on Sunday morning. And power companies in Florida promised that electricity would be nearly fully restored by the end of the weekend.

Matthew has already battered Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas and United States officials took no chances, warning that loss of life was a certainty.

"It's not as bad as maybe I was expecting", said Leigh Webber, who watched from her porch in the city's historic district.

Matthew was making itself felt in South Carolina Saturday morning. More than 5,900 people were in 70 shelters across the state as of Saturday afternoon, Scott said.

The Haiti authorities yesterday announced the beginning of three days of national mourning for those killed by Hurricane Matthew, which devastated the south of the country.

In St. Augustine just south of Jacksonville, Florida, about half of the 14,000 residents refused to heed evacuation orders despite warnings of an 8-foot (2.4-meter) storm surge that could sink entire neighborhoods, Mayor Nancy Shaver said in a telephone interview from the area's emergency operations center.

Hurricane Matthew continues to move north off the Georgia coast and its center is forecast to move near or over the SC coast Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center reports.

Evacuations have been ordered for the state's coastal communities, but Haley said only about 310,000 of the 500,000 people ordered to evacuate have done so.

Port Salut, one of several picturesque beach towns ravaged by waves, wind and rain, counted its first cholera case in seven months on Saturday, and two more suspected cases were brought by ambulance to the town's clinic.

"We got really lucky", he said.

The shivering woman made it to the water's edge.

Sonja Wallen, a curator, said antique rugs and furniture were moved away from the home's more than 40 windows, many of them still with their original glass.

"Many of these areas have not had this level of flooding since, like, the late 1800s", he said.

National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb warned against doubting Matthew's destructive potential, saying: "If you're hoping it's just going to pass far enough offshore that this isn't a problem anymore - that is a very, very big mistake that you could make that could cost you your life".

At 1:45 a.m. EDT (0545 GMT), Matthew's eye was about 95 miles (155 km) south-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, and moving northward at 12 mph (19 kph), the NHC said. It was moving north at 12 miles per hour.

"We do not know the exact number; we can not find all the people", Haitian senator Herve Fourcand, told CNN on Saturday.

Other reports by MyHealthBowl

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