USA – Hurricane Matthew Leaves 11 Dead, Flooding in 4 States

Hurricane Matthew has flooded parts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina over the last 3 days after bringing torrential rain and storm surges, as well as high winds.

At least 11 people have died in the USA as a result of the storm. Governor Pat McCrory said that 3 people have died in North Carolina. Local officials in Georgia confirmed three deaths. At least five fatalities in Florida have been attributed to the storm.

Matthew is the most powerful storm to make US landfall in more than a decade.  The storm made landfall Saturday morning near McClellanville, South Carolina, as a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 120 km/h.

Florida

However, on Friday 07 October, the edges of Hurricane Matthew drenched Florida with heavy rain and flooded coastal areas with high waves and storm surge. The heavy rain prompted the National Weather Service to issue a warning for parts of Nassau County.

“We are seeing impacts right now from St. Augustine to Jacksonville Beach. Unfortunately, this is going to continue through the night,” Gov. Rick Scott said on Friday.

“Just because the center of circulation is offshore doesn’t mean you can’t be the center of action (along the coast),” National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb said. “It’s going to get a lot worse before it (has) a chance of getting better.”

Georgia

The storm skirted along the Georgia coast late on Friday, 07 October, bringing with it further heavy rain, high waves and storm surges to parts of the state.

The surge reached 12.5 feet at Tybee Island, Georgia, which is a record high according to the Chatham County Emergency Management Agency.

Severe flooding was reported in Savannah, Georgia after almost 1 foot (30 cm) of rain fell over 2 days, breaking previous records. Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah recorded 17.49 inches (444.25 mm).

South Carolina

At around 10:45 on Saturday, 08 October, the storm made landfall in the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge near McClellanville, South Carolina, a small town about 35 miles (55 km) up the coast from Charleston, where severe flooding was also reported.

Charleston officials said emergency responders have carried out multiple water rescues from cars and homes. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, warned people to stay in shelters and not to try to go back home on Saturday or Sunday.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said: “The combination of a dangerous storm surge, the tide, and large and destructive waves will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.”

North Carolina

The NHC say that bands of heavy rain have caused “record breaking flooding” over portions of North Carolina.

Flood and flash flood warnings have been issued, including including Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Hope Mills, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Sanford and Laurinburg.

Fayetteville recorded 355 mm of rain in 24 hours.

Of particular concern is the Neuse River in Goldsboro, where levels are expected to increase to 30.9 feet early on Monday 10 October, over 2 feet higher than the record levels recorded during the flooding brought by Hurricane Floyd in 1999.