Hurricane

Here’s what’s happening as Hurricane Matthew approaches Central Florida’s east coast

cjuste@miamiherald.com

With Hurricane Matthew moving toward east Central Florida, here’s the latest in the region. Click here to read what happened throughout the day in South Florida.

 
 
 

IN PALM BEACH

9:20 p.m.: Palm Beach County Emergency Management Director Bill Johnson urged resudents to stay safe as rain bands from Hurricane Matthew made their way into the county, according to the Palm Beach Post.

“The worst isn’t past us,” Johnson said. “I want people to stay put.”

About 7,100 people have evacuated to county shelters, the Post reported. As of 7 p.m., 6,000 FPL customers were without power in Palm Beach County, but power had been restored to 9,710 customers, county officials said.

For more information, visit palmbeachpost.com.

POWER OUTAGES IN BREVARD

8:45 p.m: As of 7 p.m. on Thursday, Florida Power and Light had reported 2,600 power outages in Brevard County with more than 1,000 outages already restored.

More than 300,000 people had been affected in the area, according to FPL's website. More than 4 million people had been affected by storm-related outages across the state of Florida.

For more information, visit floridatoday.com.

IN JACKSONVILLE

8:30 p.m.: In Jacksonville in northeastern Florida, water and sewer outages were expected to begin about 8 p.m. east of the Intercoastal Waterway, according to the city of Jacksonville.

Catastrophic storm surge and destructive wind patterns are also expected, the city said, posing a significant threat to life and property.

STORM SURGES EXPECTED ALONG EAST COAST

8:00 p.m.: As Hurricane Matthew moves north out of South Florida tonight, state emergency operations officials emphasized that the worst is yet to come, with the potential for landfall in central or northern Florida.

State meteorologist Amy Godsey said storm surges of between 7 and 11 feet are possible from Brevard County north into South Carolina, and residents in northern Florida could feel tropical storm-force winds as far west as I-75 on Friday.

During an briefing in Tallahassee, Florida Thursday night, Gov. Rick Scott said curfews have been imposed in parts of four counties: Orange, Duval, St. Johns and Seminole.

Overall, Scott said he was satisfied with the progress in storm preparation he's seen in his last several days traveling the state this week.

"Everybody is prepared for this," he said. "The state stands ready to help any community that needs help. ... Our No. 1 priority is protecting life."

He noted that the 3,500 National Guard troops that he'd deployed so far are "the most I've ever had to activate" in his five years as governor. Additional troops could be deployed on Friday, if needed, and Guard officials said Florida is anticipating help after the storm passes from state National Guards in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi — including 13 rotary-wing aircraft and potentially more troops.

Scott said he planned to remain at the Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee on Thursday night and "pray for everyone's safety."

The state will have updated numbers at midnight as to how many residents have sought refuge in local shelters around the state.

— KRISTEN CLARK

IN VERO BEACH

7:10 p.m.: Vero Beach, pegged earlier Thursday for a Hurricane Matthew landfall, started seeing squalls from the hurricane at about 6 p.m.

Most of them have been short-lived but wind speed appears to be in the 40 mile per hour range.

There have been few damages so far in the area. As of 7 p.m., the power is still on in most of Indian River County, including on the barrier island where most homes have been abandoned by residents.

— JOSE LAMBIET

FLOODING ALERT

6:45 p.m.: Major flooding is forecast through Saturday evening in Volusia and Lake counties.

Read more at orlandosentinel.com/weather/hurricane.

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