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Matthew Battering Florida Coast

Storm surge a big concern, officials say

FRIDAY, Oct. 7, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Even as Hurricane Matthew battered the central Florida coast with wind gusts in excess of 100 miles per hour Friday morning, the major concern has become storm surge and widespread flooding along the coasts of northern Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

According to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville, Fla., "Barrier islands are likely to be breached, and it is extremely possible that new inlets will be cut in the worst affected areas."

Some areas near the coast in Georgia and South Carolina may see flooding comparable to an epic flooding event that struck that area in October 2015, the weather service added.

Meanwhile, wind gusts as high as 107 mph were clocked at Cape Canaveral Friday morning, as the western eyewall of the category 3 hurricane scraped the Space Coast.

On Thursday, more than 2 million people were urged by authorities to leave their homes in coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

"Storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly," W. Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said in an agency statement.

"Follow instructions of state, local and tribal officials, and make sure you're taking steps to prepare your home, family or business," Fugate said.

FEMA offered these safety tips:

  • If you are not in an evacuation area and you decide to stay in your home, have adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days, and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
  • If you purchased a generator and you lose power, keep it at least 20 feet away from windows and doors.
  • Close storm shutters, and stay away from windows. Flying glass from broken windows could injure you.
  • Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting, and open only when necessary. That way, if you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to check the food temperature when the power is restored.

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more tips on preparing for a hurricane.

SOURCES: U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency; U.S. National Hurricane Center; U.S. National Weather Service

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