“Storm surge is basically water piling up along the shore ahead of, and inside, the hurricane”, ABC News meteorologist Ginger Zee said.Advertisement
From there, it scraped the Georgia coast, including the resort islands of St. Simons and Tybee.
Nealy 900 people were killed and tens of thousands of people were left homeless after Hurricane Matthew hit the island nation of Haiti on Thursday and Florida on Friday, while at least four have been killed in storm-related incidents in the United States, The Telegraph reported.
A weather station in Federal Point, North Carolina recorded wind gusts up to 81 miles per hour.
In Fayetteville, the National Weather Service said 8.5 inches of rain had fallen in about 12 hours.
He’s asked president Barack Obama for support, declaring a state of emergency in the sunshine state.
Officials said in a news release Saturday that roads and drainage ditches in the county and Fayetteville are filling with water, making driving treacherous.
Though the storm has weakened, serious threats remain before Matthew becomes a post-tropical cyclone Saturday night or Sunday, the hurricane center said.
Even though Matthew eventually made landfall in SC as a minimal hurricane Saturday, the path it took in the days before was a stroke of luck for the United States that meteorologists will spend years trying to understand and explain.
Flooding plagued near-coastal communities in Georgia and SC on Saturday morning.
Almost a half-million electric customers in SC were left without power, and 250,000 were in the dark in coastal Georgia.
One death in Florida is being attributed to the storm.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley warned residents who have yet to evacuate to quickly get to a shelter. A major storm surge of 8 feet or more is approaching low-lying areas in the state, including Charleston. “I couldn’t get out”, 27-year-old driver Jean-Pierre Jean-Donald, said.
Matthew has been dumping rain on the coasts of SC and Georgia for more than 12 hours – and how unsafe the storm surge turns out to be will rely in part on what the tides are doing when the surge is highest. But just as it did during its long trek up the Florida shoreline, its center, or eye, mercifully stayed just far enough offshore that coastal communities didn’t feel the full force of its winds.
Special concern surrounded Jacksonville’s St. Johns River, which could be overwhelmed by water pushed into it by the storm.
Matthew, now a Category 1 storm, will continue to produce high winds and heavy rainfall and unsafe storm surge, the National Weather Service said, adding that a high risk of flash flooding was possible along the coast from northern Florida through SC through Saturday.
It reported wind gusts of 80 miles per hour in Hilton Head and predicted the storm would possibly striking the coast Saturday morning or afternoon.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said Friday, “Many of these areas have not had this level of flooding since, like, the late 1800s”.
As the storm moves north, so do cancelations with Atlanta, Charleston and Savannah taking the largest hits.
Hurricane Matthew is on track to inflict billions of dollars’ worth of damage to properties and businesses on the U.S. Southeast coast, early estimates show.
The storm caused power outages in about half of Martin County and about one-third of St. Lucie County.