As Hurricane Matthew Continues Its March Up Florida Coast, Hundreds of Thousands Without Power
Downed power lines spark fire in Cocoa Beach as Matthew moves up the coast.
According to the Florida Power and Light, more than 307,250 customers were without power early Friday morning.
In total, 451,930 FPL customers in Florida have lost power at some point Thursday into Friday.
As the hurricane moved just off the coast along the Florida coast, winds gusts of up to 88 miles per hour and heavy downpours were still reported across coastal communities in Florida, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.
“We are just bracing and the winds are picking up,” Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry told CNN early on Friday, per Reuters. “A great number of our residents have taken heed to our warnings and we are certainly concerned about those that have not.”
Thursday night, Gov. Rick Scott called the storm a “monster” and urged residents to stay in a safe place for the entire event.
“There’s no reason to take a chance,” he said. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”
Thursday afternoon, President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida, just hours after Florida Gov. Rick Scott said warned that “this (storm) will kill you.”
The first outer bands of rain from Hurricane Matthew pass over downtown Orlando, Florida, Thursday evening, Oct. 6, 2016.(Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)
Later in the day, the president signed similar declarations for Georgia and South Carolina.
State officials began to grow impatient with residents who were still refusing to leave their homes Thursday along the coast, and they were resorting to the most urgent warnings to get their point across.
“People do not seem to get it and are not leaving,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told NBC News. “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.”
There was also plenty of strong wording coming from forecasters in Jacksonville and Melbourne, who warned that the storm could be capable of catastrophe unseen by a tropical system in this region.