Photo: AP

Hurricane Matthew made landfall in South Carolina at 8 a.m. this morning. So far, 178,000 people are already out of power in the Palmetto State and authorities have warned of “strong winds and dangerous storm surges.” Matthew is expected to stay on course and reach North Carolina this afternoon.

At this point, 944,000 people in Florida and 300,000 in Georgia are still without power following the hurricane’s devastation. Six people have died due to hurricane-related incidents in the US.

When Matthew made landfall this morning southeast of McClellanville, it was still a category 1 hurricane, reaching maximum sustained winds of 75 mph. It is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm later tonight.

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The National Hurricane Center issued a bulletin this morning that warned, “Although weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, Matthew is expected to remain a hurricane while the center is near the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina.” The center also said to expect “an isolated tornado or two,” along the Carolina coasts.

South Carolina’s governor, Nikki Haley, ordered approximately 1.1 million people to move away from the coast on Friday. There are 9,000 people in Georgia and 6,000 in Florida taking refuge in shelters.

Reuters reports that at least 842 people have been killed in Haiti as a result of Matthew’s destruction. Jean-Michel Vigreux, the country director in Haiti for the nonprofit group CARE, says that the southern part of the country is now completely isolated and the city of Jeremie was in “complete destruction.”

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As the massive storm winds down, it is expected to turn out into the Atlantic after passing through North Carolina. Recovery and rebuilding could take quite some time.