1 Dead, More Than 600,000 Without Power As Hurricane Matthew Pummels Florida Coast

Hurricane Matthew hit Florida yesterday afternoon, with powerful winds reaching up to 173km/h 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. Image: AP

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 1:20AM local time (4:20PM AEST), 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 3m, coupled with 38cm 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 writing, Hurricane Matthew is 56km from Daytona Beach and 160km 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.


Palm trees sway in high gusts of wind, Thursday, 6 October 2016, in Vero Beach, Fla. Hurricane Matthew continues to make a path for Florida's east coast from the Bahamas. (Image: AP)

Ted Houston and his dog Kermit visit the beach as Hurricane Matthew approaches the area on 6 October 2016 in Palm Beach, United States. The hurricane is expected to make landfall sometime this evening or early in the morning local time as a category 4 storm. (Image: Getty)

Michael Blackman, left, and Sam Titus board up a bar a few blocks off the beach Thursday, 6 October 2016, in Daytona Beach, Fla. Hurricane Matthew continues to churn its way toward Florida's east coast. The bar is planning on staying open during Matthew. (Image: AP)

Kevin Forde (L) and John Haughey put up plywood on a window as they prepare for Hurricane Matthew as it approaches the area on 6 October 2016 in Miami Beach, United States. The hurricane is expected to make landfall sometime this evening or early in the morning local time as a category 4 storm. (Image: Getty)

A loaf of bread is all that was left in the bread aisle of a Wal-Mart supermarket in Kissimmee, Florida as people buy supplies in preparation for the landfall of Hurricane Matthew, on 6 October 2016. Some three million people on the US southeast coast faced an urgent evacuation order Thursday as monstrous Hurricane Matthew -- now blamed for more than 100 deaths in Haiti alone -- bore down for a direct hit on Florida. (Image: Getty)

There are no lines to board flights at the Palm Beach International airport after flights in and out were cancelled in the afternoon as Hurricane Matthew advances, Thursday, 6 October 2016, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Officials at Florida's major airports are monitoring conditions as Hurricane Matthew bears down on Florida. (Image: AP)

A billboard canvas flaps in the wind after Hurricane Matthew passed off shore, Friday, 7 October 2016, in North Palm Beach, Fla. Matthew was downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane overnight with the strongest winds of 193km/h just offshore as the storm pushed north, threatening hundreds of miles of coastline in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. (Image: AP)

Waves from Hurricane Matthew crash against a bridge Friday, 7 October 2016, in St Augustine, Fla. Matthew was downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane overnight, and its storm centre hung just offshore as it moved up the Florida coastline, sparing communities its full 193km/h winds. (Image: AP)

Waves from Hurricane Matthew batter a boat dock Friday, 7 October 2016, in St Augustine , Fla. Matthew was downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane overnight, and its storm centre hung just offshore as it moved up the Florida coastline, sparing communities its full 193km/h winds. (Image: AP)

Waves crash ashore as Hurricane Matthew approaches the area on 6 October 2016 in Singer Island, Florida. The hurricane is expected to make landfall sometime this evening or early in the morning local time as a possible Category 4 storm. (Image: Getty)

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