Hurricane Matthew Still Hasn’t Made Landfall As It Crawls Up Florida’s Coast

Hurricane Matthew hasn’t made landfall yet and continues to “stalk” the Florida coast with 120 mph winds (and wind gusts up to 150 mph at times) that currently qualify it as a Category 3 storm. Southern cities like West Palm Beach breathed a grateful sigh last night when the storm shifted slightly to the east. This has so far prevented the worst-case scenario, which could still happen. The storm continues to creep up the side of the state and is no joke, for some areas may be rendered “uninhabitable” for weeks or even months due to storm surges of up to 11 feet and potential for soil erosion.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott held a Friday morning press conference and urges people to stay inside and avoid this “monster” storm. He’s particularly concerned about potential significant flooding in Jacksonville, but countless other areas remain at risk too. About 600,000 Florida residents have lost power, and it could be days before service is restored. This video shows power lines exploding on Merritt Island.

At this point, the storm is still so powerful (and following a “precarious” path) that wobbling could occur again. A slight shift to the west — even by a few miles — could work deadly effects. Shepard Smith issued a blunt message to that effect yesterday, which rubbed folks the wrong way, but officials are also favoring a “tough love” approach after past storms have seen holdouts lose everything, even lives.

So far, one Florida death has been attributed to the hurricane, when a woman in St. Lucie County suffered cardiac arrest, and emergency services could not respond to her home after the 911 call. If the hurricane makes landfall, the situation will swiftly turn much deadlier. This aerial video of Haiti, where at least 800 people lost their lives, is heartbreaking.

The mayor of Cocoa Beach warns that the downed power lines, coupled with winds, are deadly even without the storm surge factor. He urges residents to stay hunkered down until the storm passes.

This video shows a home in Satellite Beach on fire from a downed power line.

On a slightly related note, Scott has declined to extend voter registration in Florida, for he says people have had plenty of time to register.

(Via CNN, Weather Channel, Fox News and Politico)

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