Energy

HURRICANE WATCH: US Death Toll From Matthew Rises To 19

NOAA/Handout via REUTERS

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

Washington, D.C. — The Daily Caller News Foundation will be issuing updates on Hurricane Matthew as they happen.

Sunday 9:00 p.m. EST — The death toll due to Hurricane Matthew has reached 19, as officials continue to asses damage caused by the post-tropical cyclone.

Updates forthcoming.

Sunday 6:20 p.m. EST —  Nearly 1,000 people have been rescued in North Carolina after Matthew clobbered the eastern portion of the state. More than 700 people have been rescued in Cumberland County, North Carolina alone.

The number is expected to ratchet up dramatically, as people remain trapped in their homes, hemmed in by rising water levels and downed power lines, authorities said Sunday.

More updates on destruction left in Hurricane Matthew’s wake.

Sunday 2:45 p.m. EST — Hurricane Matthew has been downgraded from a hurricane to a “post-tropical cyclone,” but is still considered dangerous. The storm is capable of hitting wind speeds of 75 mph.

The storm blasted North Carolina Sunday morning, causing flooding and bellowing winds after killing at least 15 people in four states, CNN reports. Matthew was about 150 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and heading east at 15 mph as of 2 pm Sunday.

More updates as they come.

Saturday 4:30 p.m EST — Power is not available for 878,907 customers, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in an update Saturday afternoon. At one point, more than 1 million residents lost power.

The hardest hit counties in Florida are Duval County (241,298 customers), Volusia County (191,923 customers) Brevard County (113,151 customers), and Flagler County (48,726 customers). Power coverage returning slowly but surely.

Scott told reporters that 70 shelters remain open throughout the state, down from the 123 shelters 24 hours ago. More than 5,900 individuals are being housed.

Florida’s interstates are all open.

Saturday 1:25 p.m. EST –Images captured Saturday show flooding in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, where Matthew has dumped rain, leaving 100 roads impassable and local officials scrambling to assess the damage.

Utility companies in South Carolina are working to restore power to more than 270,000 residents.

Saturday 9:45 a.m. EST –Hurricane Matthew has weakened from a Category 2 hurricane to a Category 1, with sustained wind of 85 mph, according to a report from CNN.

The eye of the hurricane is still technically over the sea as Matthew continues to batter the South Carolina coast. Storm surges and hurricane-force winds are still a danger for the coastal areas in the Carolinas, CNN reports.

The death toll in Haiti, meanwhile, has climbed to 900.

Friday 9:00 p.m. EST — Hurricane Matthew sent water gushing through the streets of Jacksonville, Merritt Island, Fleming Island, among other communities dotting the southeastern tip of Florida, CNN reports.

CNN correspondent Sara Sidner reports some of the damage on the streets of Daytona Beach, Florida.

Friday 2:25 p.m. EST — Matthew is just 50 miles southeast of Jacksonville Beach, Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center. It’s moving northwest up the coast at 12 miles per hour, whipping up high winds as it goes by.

Watch out for flash floods.

Friday 10:45 a.m. EST — Hurricane Matthew continues to make its way up Florida’s coast as a Category 3 storm.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue says Florida cities can expect storm conditions for several hours.

CNN is also reporting the first “hurricane-related” death. A 50-year-old woman went into cardiac arrest and died over the night in Florida as Matthew pummeled coast.

In Haiti, the death toll is much higher. The island nation reported more than 400 dead in the wake of the storm, according to BBC News.

Friday 8:30 a.m. EST — Matthew is making its way up Florida’s eastern coast, pelting the state with heavy rainfall and 100-mile-per-hour gusts of wind.

The eye of the storm is hugging the coastline, so it has not technically made landfall yet. Matthew was downgraded to a Category 3 storm before hitting Florida Thursday night.

State officials are warning to move out of the storm’s path.

Thurs. 11 p.m. EST — Matthew is pelting Florida with heavy rains and gusts of wind. The storm has not made landfall yet, but it’s still considered highly dangerous to be in his path.

“This storm’s a monster,” Gov. Rock Scott told residents as rain began to fall, CBS Local reported.

Thurs. 2 p.m. EST — President Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida.

Hurricane Matthew is expected to hit late Thursday night or early Friday morning. Millions have evacuated coastal areas, and the storm has strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane.

Thurs. 12 p.m. EST — Matthew was upgraded to a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained wind speeds of 140 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center reported. The storm is expected to make landfall in Florida Thursday night or Friday morning. State officials are warning residents not to take any chances.

“This storm will kill you,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in his final plea for people to get away from the coast, according to ABC News.

Millions of people have been evacuated or are making preparations to get out of the storm’s path. A direct impact on Florida’s east coast would cause tremendous amounts of damage, and residents are being told to get out while they can.

“Time’s running out. Leave. There’s no excuses,” Scott said. “This is life and death.”

Thurs. 11 a.m. EST — Hurricane Matthew is getting close to Florida.

Thurs. 9 a.m. EST — Matthew’s eye is visible on Miami’s weather radar.

Floridians have less than 24 hours to evacuate coastal areas. Anyone still in the storm’s path should listen to state officials and get out of the way.

Thursday 8 a.m. EST — Matthew is bearing down on Florida and is expected to strengthen from a Category 3 to Category 4 before it makes landfall. State officials have urged more than 2 million along Florida’s coast to get out, and South Carolina authorities have begun to help evacuate more than one million people from coastal areas.

At least 15 people have been killed in Matthew’s wake and thousands more have been forced out of their homes.

Matthew is currently over the Bahamas. It’s expected to hit Florida’s Atlantic coastline by Friday morning.

Wed. 4:00 p.m. EST — Hurricane Matthew is barreling up the Atlantic Coast at break neck pace, slamming the Caribbean and leaving 11 people dead in its wake, Fox Carolina reported.

Greenville County, Georgia schools said buses will not run on Wednesday, instead the country will redirect 280 buses to the South Carolina coast to help evacuate the area’s 1.1 million residents.

Wed. 1:05 p.m. EST —  Hurricane Matthew maintained wind speeds of 120 mph Wednesday afternoon and could strengthen in coming days, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The gale force winds prompted Florida Gov. Rick Scott to reiterate his warnings from earlier today.

“People have less than 24 hours to prepare,” Scott warned Wednesday afternoon. “Having a plan could be the difference between life and death.”

Wed. 12:15 p.m. EST — The Miami Herald has a list of locations preparing to shut down this afternoon, including schools, bridges and even the Miami Zoo.

President Obama already had to cancel his trip to Miami Gardens for a Hillary Clinton rally Wednesday, according to the Herald.

A hurricane watch is still in effect for Florida, but officials aren’t taking any chances and have urged people to evacuate the coasts. Hurricane Matthew is still on track to hit Florida’s east coast Thursday evening.

Wed. 11 a.m. EST — Floridians have begun evacuating their homes. Several northern Florida areas have begun “voluntary evacuations,” but Brevard County has issued a mandatory evacuation for residents on nearby islands by 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Florida gov. Rick Scott issued a dire warning to Florida residents, telling them to prepare for the worst even if forecasts show the storm slowing or missing their towns.

“I cannot emphasize enough that everyone in our state must prepare now for a direct hit,” Scott said, issuing a state of emergency. “That means people have less than 24 hours to prepare, evacuate and shelter. Having a plan in place could mean the difference between life and death.”

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley urged one million people to evacuate coastal counties by Wednesday afternoon. The governor has plans to bring in buses to help a quarter million people get at least 100 miles away from the coast.

Wed. 10:30 a.m. EST — U.S. Navy gives Guantanamo Bay the “all clear.”

Wednesday 9:30 a.m. EST — On its current track, Matthew will “be moving across the Bahamas through Thursday, and is expected to be very near the east coast of Florida by Thursday evening,” according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Matthew is currently a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, but it could strengthen in the coming days.

Forecasters predict Matthew could bring 4 to 7 inches of rain to south and central parts of Florida, and storm surge is expected to be as high as 5 feet in North Palm Beach.

“The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” NHC reported Wednesday.

“There is a danger of life-threatening inundation during the next 36 hours along the Florida east coast from North Palm Beach to the Sebastian Inlet. There is the possibility of life-threatening inundation during the next 48 hours from Sebastian Inlet to the Flagler/Volusia county line. For a depiction of areas at risk, please see the Prototype National Weather Service Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic. For information specific to your area, please see products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office,” according to NHC.

Should Matthew make landfall as a Category 3 storm, it would be the first major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. in the last 11 years. Hurricane Wilma in 2005 was the last major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S.

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