Florida braces for impact from Hurricane Matthew
Hurricane Matthew, a Category 3 storm, was 80 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral, Fla., as of 2 a.m. ET Friday, with winds up to 120 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm was moving northwest at 14 mph, according to the NHC. It was expected to make landfall early Friday north of Palm Beach County and then move north for the next 12 hours through Cape Canaveral and Jacksonville.
The storm remains a powerful threat to people and property
Nothing has improved in terms of the devastating impact expected from the storm. The one bit of good news is that the hurricane stayed about 100 miles off South Florida, sparing the 4.4 million people in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas from the worst of the storm.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott called the storm "a monster" and implored residents in its path to evacuate. "This storm can kill you," he said Thursday.
The power outages have begun
Florida Power and Light reports that about 95,000 people — 42,000 just in Palm Beach County — are already without electricity. The number will be climbing rapidly as the storm moves closer to the coast.
Thousands of flights canceled
Matthew is wreaking havoc on the travel industry. As of 11:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, airlines had canceled more than 4,800 flights nationwide for a period stretching from Wednesday through Saturday, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware. That total could grow even further depending on the storm's path.
Haiti: Matthew left a broad swath of destruction
The Haitian Interior Ministry said at least 283 people were killed when the storm struck Tuesday with 145-mph winds, torrential rain and driving storm surge. Hurricane Matthew is the most powerful single hurricane on record to make landfall in Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas. At least four died in the Dominican Republic, Haiti's neighbor on the island of Hispaniola.