rricane Matthew lashing the east coast of Florida, Friday. But the southern parts of the sunshine state largely dodging a bullet. With no direct hit from the category three storm as it crawls along the coast. Still, ferocious winds and rain have knocked out power to some 600,000 people.
And officials warn residents up north not to get complacent.>> While the eyes may not direct landfall, it still has time to make a direct hit. We are very concerned about storm surge. And the worst effects are still likely to come.>> The threat of a direct has triggered mass evacuations along the coast.
From Florida through Georgia and into South and North Carolina. Reuter's correspondent, Zach Goldman, is in Orlando.>> Orlando's more than 55 miles from the coast. But even out here, you can feel the winds coming off the system. The fears over here is that these gusts could take branches off these trees.
Toss them into a transfer station, a power station over here, knocking out power to parts of the city. It hasn't happened yet. But people are very, very worried. Every hotel in this town seems booked up. With people who evacuated the parts of the Central Florida coast that were the most threatened by this storm.
Our hotel is full of people. The entire lobby is just choked with people. Who are worried about what they're coming back to. I talked to one couple from an area just north of Daytona Beach. And they live in a mobile home. The husband told me he's expecting he's coming back to nothing at all.
>> Matthew leaving massive destruction in it's wake in the Caribbean. Killing hundreds in Haiti alone. President Obama Friday, urging residents in the path of Hurricane Matthew to heed emergency officials warnings. Adding that, although there has already been significant damage, storm surge and flooding are still a major concern.
Especially in the area north of Jacksonville and in Georgia. The fact that there's no direct hit could actually make the storm more dangerous. A weather analyst telling Reuters that if Matthew continues to churn over the ocean, rather than dissipate over land. It can gain energy from the warm waters.
Fueling its destructive force.