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Hurricane Matthew continues toward Florida as Category 4 - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

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Hurricane Matthew continues toward Florida as Category 4

Expected path of Hurricane Matthew Expected path of Hurricane Matthew
Hurricane warning extended to Charleston and Berkeley counties (Source: Live 5 News) Hurricane warning extended to Charleston and Berkeley counties (Source: Live 5 News)
Possible impacts for the Lowcountry Possible impacts for the Lowcountry
Timeline of effects in the Lowcountry. Timeline of effects in the Lowcountry.
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Hurricane Matthew is continuing towards Florida as a Category 4 storm.

Late Thursday night, Matthew had maximum stained winds at 130 mph and was located at 27.1 N and 79.2 W, moving northwest at 13 mph.  

On Thursday, President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in South Carolina due to the threat from Hurricane Matthew.

Hurricane Warning & Flood Watch

Charleston, Berkeley Jasper, Beaufort and Coastal Colleton Counties are under a Hurricane Warning. 

A Hurricane Warning means at least tropical storm-force winds are expected within 36 hours, while a Hurricane Watch means those conditions are anticipated within 48 hours.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Colleton, Dorchester and Georgetown counties.

Beaufort, Charleston, coastal Colleton, Coastal Jasper, Dorchester, inland and tidal Berkeley counties will also be under a flood watch from Friday morning to late Saturday night. 

Expected Path to the Lowcountry 

Meteorologists say Hurricane Matthew is expected to move north and northwest from the Bahamas, likely bringing significant impacts to Florida Thursday, and South Carolina Friday and Saturday. 

Live 5 News' Joey Sovine says the area of coast between Miami and Jacksonville stands a good chance of getting the eye wall of the storm, if not direct landfall. 

The storm is expected to weaken as it moves northward to the Lowcountry coast.

"We may not get landfall, but this is close enough to have significant impacts," Sovine said. 

The Lowcountry can expect to feel the effects of Matthew Friday afternoon with gusty winds and showers. 

On Friday night into Saturday morning, we are expecting heavy rain and wind. 

Tropical storm winds are expected for the Lowcountry, and hurricane winds possible along the beaches. Six to 12 inches of rain and flash flooding is possible.

Power outages scattered to widespread are also expected. 

HURRICANE MATTHEW IMPACTS - LOWCOUNTRY 

TIMELINE

Friday noon 

  • Showers
  • Breezy and gusty  

Friday evening

  • Rain and windy
  • Gusts 30-40 mph

Saturday morning

  • Heavy rain 
  • 39-74 mph wind 
  • Possible hurricane force winds 74 mph plus on the beaches 

Saturday afternoon

  • Heavy rain 
  • 39-74 mph winds
  • Possible hurricane force winds 74 mph plus on the beaches

Evacuations have been ordered for almost 2 million people in the path of the dangerous storm, and President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida.

The hurricane killed at least 108 in Haiti alone, Haiti's interior minister confirmed. The Bahamas faced the brunt of the storm as it approached the mainland United States. 

The Category 4 storm is about 90 miles southeast of West Palm Beach, FL, packing maximum sustained winds of 140 mph. It is moving to the northwest at 14 mph.

What's worse is the storm could intensify further in the next day before impacting land, National Hurricane Center forecasters say, with a turn toward the north-northwest Thursday or Friday.

The latest forecast track has the dangerous hurricane hugging or even making landfall the Florida Atlantic coast, brushing along Georgia and South Carolina before veering into the Atlantic Ocean.

People as far north as North Carolina are preparing for possible Matthew impacts.

Forecasters expect hurricane conditions - life-threatening storm surge, extreme winds, torrential rainfall and swells - to reach the hurricane warning area in the Florida by Thursday night.

"This could be an extremely disastrous storm for so many," said Dr. Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center, on Thursday morning. 

Storm surges from Sebastian Inlet, FL, to Edisto Beach, SC, border, including portions of the St. Johns River, may range from 7 to 11 feet. In addition, forecasters anticipate rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches in coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, with isolated amounts of 12 inches. 

Hurricane-force winds extend as far as 40 miles from the center, and tropical-storm strength winds extends up to 160 miles.

Gov. Nikki Haley ordered evacuations of several counties, including certain parts of Berkeley, Beufort, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry and Jasper counties, and those evacuations may expand.

Haley said, in a Thursday press conference, as of 6 a.m., 175,000 people had evacuated, but she said that number is not enough, WMBF reported.

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