At least four people are dead in Florida after Hurricane Matthew has battered the US state’s east coast, leaving many without power.
"More than 1 million house are without power,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said on Friday. “This number is going to continue to fluctuate and the greater outages are along the east coast as you would expect. Utility companies are already beginning to restore power in central and south Florida."
The hurricane, which left hundreds dead in Haiti and other Caribbean nations, reached Florida on Thursday and wreaked havoc on homes and other structures with wind gusts up to 100 mph.
According to officials, a woman in her 60s died Friday in Volusia County after a tree fell on her while she was trying to feed her animals.
A man and another woman died in St. Lucie County, with officials saying that medical emergencies and responders did not manage to reach them in time due to hazardous weather.
Also, a woman in northeast Florida died after a tree fell on her camper trailer, according to a statement by Putnam County Sheriff's Office.
“Deputies discovered that two adults were attempting to ride out the storm in the trailer when the tree fell due to high winds. The male occupant was able to escape with only minor injuries, but the female was killed. Major Crimes Detectives continue to investigate,” said the statement.
On Thursday, US President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida and ordered federal aid to supplement response efforts.
Obama warned residents to be cautious, given the storm surge threat. “Remember Sandy,” Obama said, “when people thought it wasn’t as bad as we thought and suddenly we got a massive storm surge.”
The massive storm, downgraded to Category 2 on Friday, is expected to batter coastal Georgia and South Carolina Friday night and Saturday morning.