11 p.m. update: The eye of Matthews continues northward just off the coast of Georgia, bringing storm surge flooding across the north Florida and Georgia coast.
According to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 p.m. advisory, Matthew was packing sustained winds of 105 mph as it moved north at 12 mph. Its center was about 70 miles south-southeast of Savannah, Ga. A turn toward toward the north-northeast, then to the northeast is expected Saturday.
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Matthew is expected to remain a hurricane while the center is near the coast. According to the forecast, the center of Matthew will continue to move near or over the coast of Georgia through tonight, near or over the coast of South Carolina later tonight and Saturday, and near the coast of southern North Carolina on Saturday night.
Earlier Friday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said dangerous flooding could plague the Jacksonville area for days. “We are very concerned about storm surge and there is potential for significant flooding in Jacksonville,” Scott said at a Friday night briefing in Volusia County. “Flooding in this area could potentially last for days, and river flooding could last even longer.” At least four possible storm-related deaths have been reported in Florida.
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UPDATE, 8:00 p.m.: Hurricane Matthew is continuing to move north towards the Florida-Georgia border at nearly 12 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As of 8 p.m., NHC expects the Category 2 storm to take a turn to the north-northeast and then continue to the northeast tonight before arriving near or over the coast of South Carolina on Saturday.
A private weather station at Folly Beach, S.C., reported a wind gust of 68 mph, while the Jacksonville metropolitan area has seen reports of wind gusts between 60 and 65 mph.
Hurricane warnings remain in effect for areas north of the Flagler/Volusia County line to Surf City.
Maximum sustained winds are near 110 mph with higher gusts, and the National Hurricane Center expects Matthew to remain a hurricane until it moves away from the southeastern United States on Sunday.
But Florida Gov. Rick Scott said dangerous flooding could still plague the Jacksonville area for days.
“We are very concerned about storm surge and there is potential for significant flooding in Jacksonville,” Scott said at a Friday night briefing in Volusia County.
“Flooding in this area could potentially last for days and river flooding could last even longer.”
At least four possible storm-related deaths have been reported in Florida.
UPDATE 5:00 p.m.: Hurricane Matthew has weakened to a Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds and is moving north at 12 mph.
Matthew has devastated Florida’s northeast coast with high winds and storm surges, and is starting to move out of Florida and into southeastern Georgia. The National Hurricane Center reported wind gusts up to 76 mph at the St. Augustine Beach Pier and 64 mph wind gusts at Jacksonville International Airport. The eye is currently 40 miles east of Jacksonville Beach.
South Georgia is also getting affected by winds with the eye about 135 miles south of Savannah. A weather observing site on Jekyll Island reported winds gusts up to 53 mph.
UPDATE 2:55 p.m.: Hurricane Matthew sustains as a Category 3 storm but has slightly weakened to 115 mph winds, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 2 p.m. advisory.
The storm is moving northwest at 12 mph along the northeast coast, with the eyewall hitting St. Augustine all the way north up to Jacksonville and southern parts of Georgia.
Weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, but Matthew is expected to remain a hurricane until it begins to move away from the United States on Sunday.
As outer bands of Matthew now extend west to Gainesville, the UF vs. LSU game is cancelled on Saturday afternoon.
UPDATE, 11 a.m.: Hurricane Matthew’s western eyewall is hitting parts of Florida north of Cape Canaveral, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm’s maximum sustained winds remain at 120 mph, still at Category 3 strength, and it’s moving north-northwest at about 12 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend up to 60 miles from the center, with tropical storm-force winds out to 185 mph. St. Augustine recently recorded a wind gust to 69 mph.
The hurricane warning from Sebastian Inlet to Cocoa Beach has been changed to a tropical storm warning, and the tropical storm warning south of Sebastian Inlet has been dropped. All warnings and watches for the west coast of Florida have also been dropped.
Forecasters say the storm’s satellite presentation has degraded recently and the eye has become less distinct. The storm is expected to maintain its strength for the next 6-12 hours, but should begin to weaken considerably around midday Saturday. By five days, when the storm may be looping back toward South Florida, Matthew is expected to become a tropical depression.
Update, 9 a.m.: Hurricane Matthew is maintaining 120 mph strength as it scrapes Daytona Beach.
Wind gusts of 68 mph have been recorded in Daytona.
The National Weather Service has canceled the tropical storm warning for Palm Beach County.
Forecasters said they are not expecting any more damaging winds today as Hurricane Matthew continues up Florida’s coast with 120 mph winds.
But that doesn’t mean it’s safe to go swimming. There is a high risk of rip currents along Palm Beach County beaches as Matthew pulls away. A rip current statement is in effect through Saturday morning.
Some local wind reports:
Boca Raton (at FAU), 41 mph sustained, 50 mph gust
Lake Worth pier, 46 mph sustained, 60 mph gust
Juno, 56 mph sustained, 67 mph gust
Palm Beach Gardens, 67 mph gust
Palm Beach International Airport, 35 mph sustained, 50 mph gust
Wellington, 43 mph sustained (before losing electricity)
Stuart, 39 mph sustained, 61 mph gust
Fort Pierce, 43 mph sustained, 61 mph gust
Vero Beach, 49 mph sustained, gust 74 mph
Melbourne, sustained 44 mph, gust 70 mph
Matthew is 45 miles east-southeast of Daytona Beach and moving north-northwest at 13 mph.
Hurricane center forecasters expect Matthew to maintain Category 3 status for at least the next 12 hours before dropping to a Category 2 storm with 115 mph winds.
While Palm Beach County was spared the worst of the storm, the Treasure Coast took a little bit more of a beating with obvious signs of storm surge damage and Daytona Beach is just feeling the worst of Matthew.