00.33 – Storm continues to cause travel chaos
Hurricane Matthew continues to cause problems for travelers, with 4,500 flights cancelled so far between Wednesday and Sunday, according to tracking service FlightAware.
All flights to and from Orlando were cancelled Friday and half scrapped for Saturday, while this number is expected to rise.
As the storm moves north, so do cancellations, with Atlanta, Charleston and Savannah taking the largest hits.
However, airports in Southern Florida are reopening.
23.23 – Danger not over yet
Authorities say the majority of inland Florida “dodged a bullet” but the hurricane – although weakening – is still threatening cities, including Jacksonville.
Authorities warned that not only could Matthew easily turn toward land, it could also cause deadly flooding with its surge of seawater.
About 500,000 people were under evacuation orders in the Jacksonville area, along with another half-million on the Georgia coast.
More than 300,000 fled their homes in South Carolina. The latest forecast showed the storm could also scrape the North Carolina coast.
22.08 – Tree crushes woman, bringing Florida death toll to three
Emergency officials are reporting the first death in the U.S. directly caused by Hurricane Matthew.
Volusia County emergency services say a tree fell on a woman when she ventured outside to feed animals. Her family took her to a hospital, where she died.
Meanwhile, the storm’s steady march has left more than 1 million customers in Florida without power after knocking out electricity across a wide stretch of the state’s eastern coast.
It has since been downgraded to a Category Two storm.
21.27 – South Carolina prepares for storm after it sweeps through Florida
Charleston is imposing a curfew starting at midnight Friday and extending until 6 a.m. Saturday as Hurricane Matthew moves along the South Carolina coast.
Police Chief Greg Mullen told a news conference Friday that officials expect unusually high tides driven by the storm along with the torrential rains that Matthew is expected to bring.
He said no cars or pedestrians will be allowed on the streets during the overnight period.
21.22 – Storm claims its first two US victims
Hurricane Matthew has claimed its first two US fatalities. A 58-year-old woman suffered cardiac arrest in her home in central Florida’s St Lucie County overnight, but high winds prevented fire officials from reaching her, a fire spokeswoman said.
In the early morning hours, rescuers also received a call about an 82-year-old man who was experiencing stroke-like symptoms and was having difficulty breathing.
Emergency services were unable to reach him also due to high winds, the spokeswoman said.
He was taken in a personal vehicle to a nearby hospital, and fire officials learned later that he died.
21.04 – Footage emerges of abandoned Disney World
Eerie footage has emerged of Disney World completely deserted for only the fourth time in history.
The theme park was closed yesterday in anticipation of the storm which has struck Florida.
Usually teeming with thousands of visitors, it is expected to reopen in the next few days. No damage has been reported.
21.00 – “Widespread flooding” in St Augustine, Florida
Nancy Shaver, the mayor of St Augustine, Florida, says the 451-year-old city is experiencing widespread flooding due to Hurricane Matthew.
The storm battered the city much on Friday with waves and storm surge that could yet top 8ft.
She said roughly half of the city’s 14,000 residents chose to stay in their homes but no injuries or deaths had been reported.
Shaver damage will be “widespread” and “there are houses that will probably not ever be the same again or not even be there.”
19.43 – Women filmed fighting over store’s last bottle of water
Two women have been recorded brawling in a Walmart after an argument broke out of the store’s last bottle of water.
Footage of the fight shows the pair repeatedly punching each other in the head in front of dozens of horrified bystanders.
The women are believed to have been shopping – like thousands of others – for supplies to help them see out the storm.
18.57 – US Navy deploys hundreds of Marines to aid Haiti
The US is sending a Navy ship to aid Haiti, where Hurricane Matthew has claimed at least 850 lives and caused catastrophic damage, a US defense official said on Friday.
The USS Mesa Verde’s 300 Marines will add to the 250 personnel and nine helicopters already ordered to deploy to the country.
17.40 – Death toll in Haiti jumps to 842
The death toll in Haiti has now skyrocketed to 842, Reuters is reporting.
It comes as officials say the storm has lashed NASA’s Cape Canaveral, causing power outages and damaging infrastructure.
Rockets, spaceships and crucial equipment for the US space program and private companies like SpaceX are all stored in the area, which is home to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC).
“At this time there is observed to be limited roof damage to KSC facilities, water and electrical utilities services have been disrupted and there is scattered debris,” NASA’s Sara Loff said.
The NASA spaceship launchpad, located 26 miles away, narrowly avoided the path of the storm.
16:48 – Death toll in Haiti reaches 572
Speaking with the Telegraph, British Red Cross emergencies spokesman David Foster described the situation in Haiti as dire.
He said: “The extraordinary damage and loss of life inflicted by Hurricane Matthew is slowly becoming clear.
“Roads, bridges and communication lines have been wiped out in Haiti, which has made access to affected communities very difficult.
“Widespread flooding means there is the potential for waterborne diseases, while we are also concerned about life-threatening mudslides.
“There is a desperate need for emergency shelter, clean drinking water, sanitation facilities, food and health services.”
16:39 – Governor Rick Scott: “The worst is still to come.”
Speaking at a press conference, Scott warned Florida residents that the most powerful half of the storm is yet to hit the mainland.
He said: “The storm is only halfway through our state, so we are not through this yet.
“We are very concerned about storm surge and the worst effects are still likely to come.
“While the storm is still on, don’t go outside.”
16.02 – Obama: “This is still a really dangerous hurricane”
The President warned Americans to remain on alert when he spoke this afternoon.
15.45 – Georgia and South Carolina now the main concern
Obama adds that Florida appears to have escaped the worst of the storm and attention must now focus on states to the north.
He warned specifically about the threat of storm surges in Georgia and South Carolina.
15.42 – Obama: “Pay attention to your local officials”
“This things is going to keep moving North. Pay attention to what local officials are telling you.
“A storm surge can move very quickly.
“I’ve been in contact with the governors of the states affected.
“We can always replace property but we cannot replace lives.”
15.31 – Obama to address the nation
The White House has confirmed President Barack Obama will make a statement later today.
The commander-in-chief has yet to comment on the storm since it made landfall.
Republican candidate for the Oval Office Donald Trump has not been so quiet, telling Americans to listen to local officials.
15.21 – Death toll continues to rise as pictures of Cuba damage emerge
Officials in Haiti have revised the death toll to 572.
Nearby Cuba was also badly hit as pictures of debris and gutted buildings in the town of Baracia emerge.
Despite the damage (pictured below), the communist state has reported no deaths so far.
14.56 – Lights out for 600,000 as power cuts bite
Or to put it into context, the same population as Glasgow or Montenegro.
Rick Scott confirms the news as he warns of major flooding risk in Jacksonville.
The 63-year-old added that 22,000 are in emergency shelters.
14.50 – Florida wakes up to assess the damage
Daylight revealed the extent of the clean-up job across the southern regions of Florida.
One woman woke to find a palm tree had slammed into her motor.
While a giant billboard was left swaying in the wind after being ripped from its moorings.
14.44 – All hands to the pump for Governor Scott
Florida Governor Rick Scott is a busy man today.
But the Republican politician has still found time to send out 22 tweets in two different languages urging people to stay indoors.
Angling for a second career as a human SatNav, he has even found time to post suggested escape routes.
14.22 – 470,000 Americans left without power
Nearly half a million are now without power along the east coast, authorities have confirmed.
A quick look at the latest weather map below illustrates the enormous area Matthew is affecting.
More than 26 million will experience its full force, US officials say.
14.15 – One US death confirmed
Florida police have confirmed one woman in her late 50s died after suffering a heart attack.
Emergency services were unable to reach the St Lucie woman because of the extreme conditions.
Rescue efforts are being directed from a National Guard response centre.
13.54 – “We’re scared, we wish we hadn’t stayed”
Many Floridians are now voicing their regret at ignoring repeated pleas to evacuate their homes.
Associated Press are reporting families saying: “We’re scared, we wish we hadn’t stayed.”
Robert Tyler and wife Georgette fled a storm surge near their Cape Canaveral home.
He said: “Overnight, it was scary as heck.”
The area was badly affected by winds this morning (below).
13.45 – Caribbean death toll continues to spiral
Haiti’s death toll has now risen to 478 with the figure likely to increase, government officials have said.
Dr Steven Godby, an expert in natural disasters from Nottingham Trent University warned: “A storm of this magnitude was always likely to prove catastrophic wherever it made landfall, but Haiti is particularly vulnerable to natural hazards.
“It is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere and has struggled recently with drought and food insecurity.”
12.58 – Florida zoo evacuated ahead of landfall
It’s not just humans who have been forced to flee the coming storm.
St Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoo posted shots of its animals brought indoors to escape the wind.
Among the more striking is a Marabou stork, some baby alligators and a ring-tailed lemur – not to mention some highly-venomous snakes.
12.44 – Jacksonville is set to suffer its worst hurricane since 1898
Back then, the US was at war with Spain, the world’s first car was only two years old and the Wright brothers wouldn’t make their first manned flight for another five years.
But later today the city of 1.5 million people could experience storm surges of up to 12ft.
12.27 – Storm surges threaten northern Florida, Gerogia and South Carolina
Forecasters are predicting storm surges of up to 12-FOOT could overcome the states’ flood defences later today.
Experts say Jacksonville, Florida, and Charleston, South Carolina, are likely to be worst hit.
Not sure what a storm surge looks like?
This is just a tiddler on Daytona Beach earlier today.
12.16 – US aid planes race to Haiti
The US might be in the grip of Hurricane Matthew – but it was still the first to fly aid into devastated Haiti.
A giant US Air Force C-17 plane took off from New Jersey bound for capital Port-au-Prince last night.
The United Nations last night warned that 350,000 Haitians were in desperate need of food, water and shelter.
12.06 – Newlyweds’ dream Bahamas honeymoon ruined by 150mph gusts
Hurricane Matthew turned a newlywed couple’s dream honeymoon into the holiday from hell.
Recently married Dave and Amanda Jenkins filmed the deadly storm ripping apart their luxury hotel room in the Bahamas on Thursday.
12.02 – Emergency services handed out ominous forms before storm
While hundreds of thousands of Floridians were evacuated, those that refused to budge were given an ominous warning.
One stubborn local posted a picture of the Evacuation Order Form he was handed last night.
It morbidly asks for a next of kin’s contact details.
11.53 – Hurricane winds batter Cape Canaveral
Winds in excess of 100mph are now sweeping through the Kennedy Space Centre – the base Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin lifted off from when they landed on the moon in 1969.
Forecaster Jaclyn Whittal recorded the incredible strength of the winds as they tore into beach-side palm trees near the base.
11.38 – Brit holidaymakers hit by flight cancellation misery
Nearly 2,000 flights in and out of Florida have been cancelled already, FlightAware has said.
Orlando International Airport closed last night at 8pm and is not expected to re-open until tomorrow.
Virgin Atlantic confirmed it has cancelled four flights between the UK and Florida, while another ten have been postponed until Saturday and Sunday.
11.31 – Storm heading towards Melbourne, Florida
NBC’s Alicia Roman says the category three storm is heading towards the town of Melbourne with gusts of up to 150mph.
It lies just 20 miles to the south of Cape Canaveral and 70 miles east of Orlando.
11.21 – Florida newspaper calls Matthew a “razor-thin miss”
The Miami Herald describes Hurricane Matthew as a “razor-thin miss” on its front page this morning.
Heavy gusts buffeted the city of 400,000 – but it avoided the worst of the conditions as Matthew’s eye stalked the eastern coast.
11.09 – Good Morning Britain presenter struggles to talk in hurricane gusts
TV presenters should never work with children or animals… or hurricanes.
Good Morning Britain’s poor old Richard Gaisford found out the hard way today as he tried to talk his way through 100mph gusts.
Hosts Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway were barely able to hear Gaisford as he valiantly continued his hands-on reporting job in Palm Beach.
11.00 – News reader tells locals: “You and everyone you know are dead”
Fox News Shep Smith host certainly made no bones about the danger posed by Hurricane Matthew.
He told viewers: “This moves 20 miles to the west, and you and everyone you know are dead — all of you — because you can’t survive it.
“It’s not possible unless you’re very, very lucky.
“And your kids die, too.”
10.56 – Eye of the storm now just miles from the coastline
Weather forecasters at CNN say the eye of Hurricane Matthew is now just five miles offshore.
And with the storm edging along at barely 14mph, it could be around for some time yet.
Michael Holmes said: “It’s going to take hours, hours and hours for this to pass through.”
10.45 – Terrified mum parks her car in the LIVING ROOM before storm hits
One Floridian took hurricane preparations to the extreme – by parking her car in the lounge.
The silver Toyota was pictured edging through a window into the front room of the woman’s Florida home.
10.30 – Horrific images of storm-battered Caribbean emerge
While Floridians batten down the hatches, those in the Caribbean are already assessing the damage.
More than 300 are dead in impoverished Haiti alone with many more feared killed.
The city of Jeremie had 80 per cent of its buildings flattened.
The Red Cross has announced £5.5m of emergency funds for the islanders with reports that food supplies are already running out.
The World Health Organisation has also warned that cholera could ravage the island if aid and shelter is not brought in quickly.
10.21 – Daredevil storm chasers fly jet right into the eye of the storm
How about this for a job?
After being thrown around by the 150mph gusts they suddenly emerge into an eery calm – the eye of Hurricane Matthew.
Daredevil flyer Tim Gallagher certainly has some nerve trying this stunt.
10.13 – Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld among theme parks closed
The iconic Disney resort has been forced to close its doors for the first time in 11 years in the face of the oncoming storm.
Speaking yesterday a spokesperson for the park said: “Theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, Disney’s miniature golf course and ESPN Wild World Sports Complex will be closed by 5pm today and will remain closed through Friday, October 7th.”
One snap captured the ominous storm clouds of Matthew circling above the Disney’s iconic castle.
More than 1.4million Brits holiday in the state each year – most of whom visit at least one of the world-famous attractions.
10.07 – Hurricane Matthew heading towards Cape Canaveral
Welcome to The Sun’s live blog giving you all the latest updates on Hurricane Matthew. The storm has been skirting the coast of Florida overnight after striking the Bahamas yesterday.
Forecasters now think the 140mph winds will finally make landfall at Cape Canaveral – home of Nasa’s Kennedy Space Centre. If it does, experts say Matthew will be the strongest storm to hit the £9billion spaceport in its 50-year history.
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