In the latest Hurricane Matthew updates, it appears the storm path missed South Florida landfall by a small margin, but still wreaked plenty of havoc on the state. After precautionary evacuations and closings, the state reported a widespread number of power outages, damaged areas, and several deaths. In addition, the destructive storm combined with Tropical Storm Nicole to set a weather record for the heavy winds the two brought over the Atlantic Ocean together.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Matthew barely missed the coast and was downgraded to a Category 2 storm as of Friday night. It still left at least four deaths in its wake, two of which were said to be indirectly related to the storm. Two of the deaths in different counties occurred due to falling trees, with one falling onto a mobile home and another falling onto a woman who was outside to feed animals.
In Saint Lucie County, there were two other deaths reported due to emergency workers being unable to get to two people in time. One person died of a heart attack, while the other had respiratory problems which led to their death.
The storm had caused widespread concern throughout the state. It was best to err on the side of caution, as many individuals evacuated their areas believed to be in the storm’s path. Businesses closed down, including Walt Disney World and Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs made comments about the fact that the storm missed the area.
“Every indication we had from every weather service out there indicated this could be a very dangerous threat to Orange County. This is one of those cases where we were very fortunate and dodged a bullet.”
While the center of Matthew was 25-40 miles off the northeast Florida coast, it still brought strong conditions along. It will continue to do so for several other areas of the south including Georgia and South Carolina over the next day.
According to ABC News, Florida Gov. Rick Scott had informed reporters that a “storm surge” was of particular concern with Hurricane Matthew. Powerful winds and torrential rain caused the brunt of the issues as a result of the hurricane’s proximity to Florida. Flash flooding was also of concern in many areas of the state and will also be of concern in parts of Georgia and the Carolinas.
Power outages were also a serious issue in the state as over 1 million Florida customers reportedly were without power as of midday Friday. In particular, half of the individuals in Brevard County were said to be without power.
The storm first formed in late September from a tropical wave which pushed off the African coast. Three days later, the system had moved near the Windward Islands and had enough organization to be classified as a Tropical Storm named Matthew. As it reached the eastern Caribbean, it eventually was classified as hurricane status with a peak intensity occurring just as the month of October began. Since its origin, the storm Matthew traveled over 3,000 miles to near the Florida coast.
Following after Matthew was another newer storm, Tropical Storm Nicole, which had intensified to hurricane levels at one point. Nicole is not expected to hit landfall, although it could potentially strike Bermuda. The two powerful storms actually combined for a unique record over the Atlantic Ocean, though. According to Gizmodo, the two storms set a record for latest time in a calendar year that two storms in the North Atlantic Ocean had winds of over 105 miles per hour at the same time.
It has been mentioned that after Matthew unleashes its wrath on southern states including North and South Carolina, it is expected to make a turn. It could head back towards south Florida, but the good news appears to be that it will have weakened in intensity. Residents of parts of Georgia, as well as North and South Carolina, will certainly want to pay close attention to the area weather and take appropriate actions to ensure safety.
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