Matthew kills 10, leaves path of damage along US coast

Hilton Head Island Hurricane Damage
Hilton Head Island Hurricane Damage

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Six new deaths have been reported in the Southeast in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. That brings the death toll in the United States from the storm to nine.

Gov. Pat McCrory said Saturday that the hurricane killed three people in North Carolina.

McCrory said at a press conference that “this is a very, very serious and deadly storm.”

In Georgia, Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police said in a statement Saturday that they are investigating the death of a man at his home, possibly from structural damage caused by a fallen tree.

Bulloch County deputy coroner Richard Pylant said two people died there. One of the casualties was a man in a wheelchair who died when two trees fell on his home.

Beaufort County sheriff’s deputies say it may be days before vehicles can get onto some of the county’s smaller islands after Hurricane Matthew passed closely by the area.

Sheriff’s Capt. Bob Bromage said Saturday the state department of transportation will need to send engineers to check on the bridges to several small islands east of Beaufort. Bromage said the engineers are needed just to be on the safe side.

He also says a dusk to dawn curfew will continue Saturday night and into Sunday. Beaufort County was under an evacuation order before Matthew struck the area.

About 10 sailboats were tossed together and washed ashore at the Palmetto Bay Marina on Hilton Head Island.

The docks at the marina appeared to have broken loose sometime early Saturday as Matthew’s surge ran up the Harbor River near the bridge on the Cross Island parkway.

Residents on the island also said that docks may have also come loose at Harbour Town Golf Links, damaging boats. But that part of the island was inaccessible by vehicle Saturday afternoon.

Many of the homes on the resort island appear to have survived without major damage. But trees were down and blocked a number of roads on the island that is home to 40,000 permanent residents.

Matthew moved by the island early Saturday with heavy rains and winds of up to 88 mph.

Gov. Nikki Haley said residents who evacuated should not expect to return home Saturday or Sunday.

Cumberland County, North Carolina officials are reported emergency responders have conducted eight water rescues from cars and homes, and more are expected as the threat from Hurricane Matthew increases.

Officials said in a news release Saturday roads and drainage ditches in the county and Fayetteville are filling with water, causing driving to be treacherous. They’re urging business owners to close early so workers can get home before additional roads become impassable.

The National Weather Service said 8.5 inches of rain have fallen in Fayetteville in about 12 hours, starting a midnight. The ground there was already saturated from heavy rains last week.

Officials have previously reported four deaths in Florida.

Those numbers pale in comparison to Haiti, which counted 470 dead in one district alone when Hurricane Matthew swept through the Caribbean island as a Category 4 storm. It has since weakened to a Category 1.

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