Matthew no longer a hurricane, but still just as dangerous

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(CNN) — Nearly 900 people have been rescued in North Carolina after Hurricane Matthew battered the eastern part of the state. That number includes 562 rescued in Cumberland County alone, Gov. Pat McCrory said Sunday. The number is expected to rise as other people remain trapped in their homes, authorities said. Four people remain missing in Cumberland County.

The storm killed at least seven people in the state McCrory said. That brings the total death toll from Matthew to 14 in the United States:

• Seven in North Carolina

• Four in Florida

• Three in Georgia

Matthew, the deadly storm that’s spread misery from the Caribbean to the Carolinas, is no longer a hurricane. But it’s still packing a powerful punch.

The storm whipped North Carolina early Sunday morning, causing “record-breaking” flooding and blowing powerful winds after killing at least 14 people in three states, before moving into Virginia and parts of other Mid-Atlantic states.

The National Hurricane Center says Matthew is no longer a hurricane and is now considered a post-tropical cyclone. Despite its new title, it’s still packing maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph) — the same as a Category 1 hurricane, forecasters said.

Matthew’s only change is in its “core structure,” hence the change to a cyclone, CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar said. However, she warned, the change in name does not mean it’s any less dangerous.

“It’s still packing the same hurricane-force winds and potential for flooding and is still as deadly as a hurricane,” she said.

The latest

Hurricane Matthew killed at least seven people in North Carolina, four in Florida and three in Georgia, authorities said Saturday.

Post-tropical cyclone Matthew is expected to pound eastern North Carolina with torrential rains until later Sunday.

The storm killed hundreds in the Caribbean, almost entirely in Haiti. More than 330 people died in Haiti, according to the nation’s Civil Protection Service.

Others reported much higher deaths. A count by Reuters, based on information from local civil protection officials, puts the death toll in Haiti at well over 800. Four deaths were reported in the Dominican Republic and one in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Matthew is moving through Virginia. City officials in Norfolk declared a local state of emergency. The city issued a statement urging citizens to stay off roads and has opened a shelter.

North Carolina

Matthew killed at least seven people in North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory said.

McCrory had warned residents the flooding could be the worst since Hurricane Floyd pounded the state in 1999.

Even though Matthew made its first US landfall Saturday in South Carolina, part of the storm’s eyewall — the hurricane’s strongest section — passed over coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina from Friday into Saturday, flooding low-lying areas, downing trees and making some roads impassable.

Flooding in Georgia, South Carolina

The storm left more than 2 million utility customers without power Saturday night in South Carolina (833,000), Florida (673,000), North Carolina (457,000) and Georgia (276,000).

In the coastal Georgia city of Savannah, Sue Alice Walker, 85, said she was sleeping in her house when she awoke to find 3 inches of water flowing inside.

“First I saw it in the living room, then in the kitchen, and then last it came in my son’s room,” she told CNN’s Sara Ganim, adding that she spent the rest of the night and much of Saturday morning mopping and shoveling the water into buckets.

Storm surges sent water spilling into Myrtle Beach’s streets Saturday before the storm’s center arrived, video posted by CNN affiliate WPDE showed.

“I’m going to ask for patience. … Do not plan to go home,” Haley said, asserting that driving conditions weren’t safe.

A Tybee Island resident described the moment when the storm hit his home.

“As nightfall hit the winds increased and it was just constant just constant wind,” the unidentified man told CNN. “All of our windows got immediately blown out. I lost power. All the fencing around my home went down like matchsticks.”


In Florida, Matthew left a trail of destruction.

Water from the storm rushed through streets, making roadways look more like rivers in parts of Jacksonville, Merritt Island, Fleming Island and other Florida communities.

Florida struggled with the rising water, rain and strong winds as meteorologists said the storm surge was more than 4 feet in some areas.

Jacksonville was not battered as heavily as initially feared. But several communities nearby received extensive damage with water surging down some streets, and massive trees toppled over.

Part of the Jacksonville Beach Pier washed away Friday morning, according to CNN affiliate WFOX/WJAX. The original pier was washed away during Hurricane Floyd and rebuilt a few years later, the station said.

Hundreds dead in Haiti

After a destructive trip through the Caribbean that left hundreds dead in Haiti, Matthew knocked out power to millions of people Saturday night and toppled trees along parts of the US Southeast — from Florida to the Carolinas.

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