MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WRIC) — The steady march of Hurricane Matthew has left more than one million customers in Florida without power.
State officials released updated totals on Friday that showed the powerful Category 3 storm had knocked out electricity over a wide stretch of the state’s eastern coast. Most of the customers in Flagler and Volusia County – the home to Daytona Beach – were without power. Other hard hit areas include Brevard and Indian River counties.
The storm was strong enough to also cause outages in Central Florida; at last check, more than 100,000 who live in the Orlando area were without electricity.
Several more communities on the South Carolina coast are imposing curfews as the winds and rains of Hurricane Matthew approach the state. The worst of the storm is expected to move in overnight and Matthew is expected to be just off Charleston about daybreak as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds.
Charleston, North Charleston, and Mount Pleasant are all imposing curfews from midnight Friday through 6 a.m. on Saturday. Officials say they don’t want people driving or walking around while law officers and emergency workers have to deal with issues related to the storm.
In Beaufort County, a curfew will be in effect from dusk Friday through dawn on Saturday.
“Once it crosses that threshold – there’s not a magic number – it’s when commanders realize it’s too dangerous for our vehicles to be on the road, conditions are too dangerous for officers to be on the road, we’re gonna have to stand by and let it pass before we can come out and offer any help,” Inspector Chip Googe with the Mt. Pleasant Police Department told 8News.
President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in North Carolina as Hurricane Matthew wreaks havoc on the East Coast.
The declaration puts the Homeland Security Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in charge of disaster relief efforts in the state, including providing equipment and needed resources.
Gov. Pat McCrory says he’s about worried that the storm could lead to heavier rains than previously estimated at or near the coast, and cause power outages from high winds.
Obama has already declared states of emergency in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, the other states in Matthew’s path.
Earlier today, governor Nikki Haley urged residents to evacuate, or go to one of the 66 shelters across the state. Many of those shelters are now full, but workers say they will find a place for you and your pet, because staying home is not worth the risk.
“If they get hung up in one of these house because there’s a cat or dog and they don’t want to leave it, when it gets to a point it’s too bad and their stuck in there, who knows what’s going to happen,” Sgt. David Willis with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office said.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.