Hurricane Stays Offshore As It Moves Up Florida's Coast, Nears Georgia, Carolinas
Hurricane Matthew is traveling north along the Florida coastline with sustained winds of 120 mph and gusts up to 150 mph — but the most powerful winds primarily stayed offshore, sparing the coast from the worst-case-scenario damage.
The Category 3 storm, even at a distance, has had gusts on land of more than 100 mph, causing power outages for more than 800,000 customers, according to the office of Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
Storm surge flooding remains a threat even as the hurricane skirts the shore. And forecasters emphasize that the powerful storm could easily move a few miles west, with devastating consequences.
"We have been very fortunate that Matthew's category 3 winds have remained a short distance offshore of the Florida Coast thus far," the National Hurricane Center says, "but this should not be a reason to let down our guard. Only a small deviation to the left of the forecast track could bring these winds onshore."
That eyewall — where the strongest winds are — has brushed against the Florida coast and will be traveling "over or very near" northeastern Florida and then Georgia later today.
Throughout that area, the National Hurricane Center warns of a dangerous storm surge and potentially life-threatening inundation levels, in addition to the risk of hurricane-force winds. - Read More