Hurricane Matthew hits Florida

New York Post:-Hurricane Matthew battered Florida with destructive force early Friday as its eyewall brushed Cape Canaveral on its northward path — leaving more than 300,000 people without power after claiming at least 339 lives in Haiti.

The Category 3 storm — the first major hurricane threatening a direct hit on the US in more than a decade — unleashed its fury as it crept north-northwest at 14 mph while centered about 25 miles east of the cape about 6:30 a.m.

“We are just bracing and the winds are picking up,”Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry told CNN early Friday. “A great number of our residents have taken heed to our warnings and we are certainly concerned about those that have not.”

The storm — which was downgraded from a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale — is still very powerful, packing dangerous winds of 120 mph, according to the US National Hurricane Center, which warned of “potentially disastrous impacts.”

The US National Weather Service said Matthew, though expected to weaken in the next 48 hours, could be the most powerful to strike northeast Florida in 118 years.

A dangerous storm surge was expected to reach up to 11 feet along the Florida coast, Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the Miami-based NHC, told CNN.

“What we know is that most of the lives lost in hurricanes is due to storm surge,” he said.

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