Last updated: 01:26 PM ET, Sat October 08 2016

Florida Begins Clean Up from Hurricane Matthew

Impacting Travel | Michael Schottey | October 08, 2016

Florida Begins Clean Up from Hurricane Matthew

 PHOTO: The Florida National Guard assessing the damage in a neighborhood. (Photo via Flickr/TheNationalGuard

Hurricane Matthew has weakened significantly, but is still an ongoing threat for coastal areas in Georgia and South Carolina.

At 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center updated their storm projections which showed winds of 85 m.p.h for the storm which is currently 20 miles off shore and passing Charleston, South Carolina. The storm is expected to continue weakening over the course of the day as it creeps toward the North Carolina coast.

Concerns of a looping pattern back toward Florida and the Bahamas still exist, but if the storm takes that path, it is expected to weaken considerably in the process and no longer be a threat.

Charleston and coastal Georgia are currently receiving the worst of Hurricane Matthew as of mid-Saturday morning. Life-threatening flooding is expected even toward more inland areas. Mandatory evacuation orders were sent out well in advance of the storm, but anyone currently in areas being battered by the storm should seek shelter and remain until the storm as passed.

In Florida, cleanup has already begun, and much of the state is breathing a sigh of relief while their friends and neighbors deal with only minor damage in areas once thought to be directly in the path of a potentially devastating hurricane.

Storm surge and accompanying rains flooded many tourist and beach areas around Daytona Beach, St. Augustine, Flagler Beach and Jacksonville, Florida. Wind damage is being reported up and down the entire coast and Florida Power and Light is reporting outages in the millions, with some counties completely out of power and some counties struggling without power even though they barely felt the storm’s effects.

Airports are reopening in Florida, with the major airports in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Sanford and Jacksonville open as of Saturday morning. Customers should still check with airlines as to specific flights, but business is returning to normal in those areas over the next couple of days.

Ports are returning to normality as well, with Cape Canaveral one of the luckiest recipients of late storm movement and weakening as it approached the Florida coast. At one point, the popular port and tourist area was considered directly in the line of fire of what looked like the most destructive weather event in the United States since Hurricane Katrina. Instead, cruise terminals in areas of mid-to-southern Florida are reopening Saturday morning.

All of Orlando's theme parks are opening on Saturday, including Walt Disney World, Universal, Seaworld and Legoland. 

Many major sporting events and various local festivals are canceled this weekend throughout Florida —even inland — as power, cleanup and travel concerns over affected roads remain major issues. Please check with venues and with local governments before traveling to areas that may be affected. 

For more information on Florida, Georgia, South Carolina

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