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HURRICANE Matthew scraped Florida's Atlantic coast yesterday, toppling trees on to homes and knocking out power to half a million people but sparing some of the most heavily populated shoreline.

Authorities warned that the danger was far from over, with hundreds of miles of coastline in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina still under threat of torrential rain and a dangerous storm surge.

Matthew's storm centre hung just offshore as it moved up the Florida coastline, sparing communities its full 120mph winds. It still got close enough to knock down trees and power lines, and a 107mph gust was recorded at Cape Canaveral.

As the storm closed in, an estimated two million people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina were warned to move inland to escape the fury of the most powerful hurricane to menace the US Atlantic coast in more than a decade.

Matthew left more than 280 people dead in its wake across the Caribbean, almost all in Haiti where a major relief effort is beginning.

As it moved on, it largely skirted the Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach areas, home to more than seven million people, and hugged closer to the coast farther north, menacing such communities as Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Cape Canaveral and Jacksonville.

Some people who refused to flee were stranded and called for help but were told to stay put until conditions improved enough for paramedics and firefighters to get to them.

Forecasters predicted a storm surge of 9ft or more in many places, threatening coastal communities.

Fort Lauderdale and Orlando airports shut down, and airlines cancelled more than 3,000 flights on Thursday and yesterday.

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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:Oct 8, 2016
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