Hurricane Matthew weakens to Category 1, leaves trail of destruction along Southeastern coast

By Autumn Pattison

Hurricane Matthew spent the weekend creating record-breaking floods and downing power lines across the Southeastern United States coast. Now, it appears to be moving back out to sea. The storm left hundreds dead in the Caribbean, and the most recent U.S. death count from ABC News is at 19. The strongest part of the storm brushed parts of the coastline in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina Friday evening, but didn’t make landfall until Saturday morning in South Carolina. Matthew has left swaths of damage in its path, turning roads into rivers and toppling over large trees. According to statistics from CNN, more than 2 million people were without power Saturday night across Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Parts of the Jacksonville Beach Pier were swept away Friday morning, as reported by CNN affiliate WFOX/WJAX.

 As of 8 p.m. ET Saturday, Matthew was moving east-northeast at 13 mph as a Category 1 hurricane. Within the next 36 hours it is expected to become a post-tropical storm. Until it does, the governors of the states impacted are asking for patience, as driving conditions are still unsafe. Many road crews are still unable to reach the affected, and although those who evacuated are eager to get back home, most roadways are impassable. Though the brunt of the storm has passed, there are still minor threats until the storm has moved completely away from U.S. land. According to many radar predictions, it is possible Matthew will double back and hit Florida again,  much of the Southeastern coast is still on high alert.

Update: as of 2 p.m. ET Sunday, Matthew is classified as a Post-Tropical Cyclone moving east at 15 mph (Weather Underground). As of Tuesday, 33 people have died because of Matthew, and flooding continues to plague North Carolina (The Weather Channel).