Hurricane Matthew, Storm Surge Hits Florida

Hurricane Matthew shows its strength as it enters Florida causing heavy rains, power interruptions and storm surges along the Florida coast.

Hurricane Matthew left 600,000 homes in Florida without power. Now downgraded to Category 3, the hurricane still shows its powerful strength as it hits Florida, Georgia and Carolina causing storm surges, strong winds and heavy rains.

Conditions in Daytona, Florida worsened as the storm's eyewall approaches. The strong winds drive sea waters to roads near the coastal area. Strong winds of 100 mph has caused some billboards to strip off from the building.

LIVE: Hurricane Matthew batters US Southeast

As announced Thursday, Hurricane Matthew's possible life-threatening storm surges forced mass evacuation for Florida residents. President Barrack Obama then announced a state of emergency ahead to put the Homeland Security Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in charge of disaster relief efforts in the state.

Although downgraded to Category 3, Florida residents still made great preparations as Hurricane Matthew approached the coast. The anticipation came after Matthew hit Haiti and the Bahamas leaving catastrophic damages and killing over 300 people.

An aerial damage assessment is ongoing in some parts of Florida, especially those near the coastal areas. No major damage is observed although power outages were noted due to falling trees. There are only minimal floods, seawalls are intact, no house displacements have ocurred, which is usually expected from a Category 4 cyclone. Palm trees are still in place and roofs are still intact. Some roads have minimal to no flood and no soil erosion is seen on the streets.

Hurricane Matthew was initially classified as Category 5 but was later downgraded to Category 4 but was still described as "extremely dangerous". It is expected to slow down as it hits the land but with the possibility that it will still retain and regain its strength.

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