Hurricane Matthew hit Florida this morning, with powerful winds reaching up to 107 miles per hour on the tip of Cape Canaveral, making Matthew the strongest storm to hit the US since 2005. The hurricane claimed its first US victim in Florida last night.
A 58-year-old woman died of cardiac arrest in her home in Port St. Lucie, according to local reports. An emergency call came in at 1:20 a.m., but emergency responders were not able to save the woman because they had suspended operations due to the storm. Officials are considering it a storm-related death because they were unable to properly respond to the call.
Despite the major damage caused by the storm, things could have been much worse. Hurricane Matthew was weakened to a Category 3 hurricane overnight.
Weather experts believe the storm will continue to run parallel to the southeastern tip of the US, brushing along states like Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Although the hurricane has been downgraded to Category 3, it’s still deadly. The hurricane is expected to cause storm surges of up to 10 feet, coupled with 15 inches of rain. The deluge of water is expected to cause massive flooding along the coast.
Hurricane Matthew is already responsible for one of the largest coordinated evacuations in US history. About 3.1 million people were told to evacuate Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, according to ABC News. More than 1.5 million Florida residents have been asked to evacuate the area, making it the largest evacuation in Florida’s history.
At the time of publishing, Hurricane Matthew is 35 miles from Daytona Beach and 95 miles out of Jacksonville. The storm is expected to make landfall in the coming hours, then curl along the eastern coast as it causes flooding throughout the area. The storm has already claimed the lives of more than 300 people in Haiti and displaced hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Caribbean. Frighteningly, Hurricane Matthew’s impact on the US has only just begun.
We will continue to update this post as more information becomes available.