DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – Mandatory evacuations are in effect along the Atlantic Coast. Hundreds of shops, hotels and other businesses have boarded up, along with residents, in the hope of saving their property.
As of 5 a.m. conditions were worsening in Daytona Beach, where News Channel 8 was reporting live. Hurricane Matthew is a Category 3 storm making its way up the east coast with 120 mph winds. Hurricane Warnings are in effect for the east coast of Florida. A total of 14,140 residents are without power in Volusia County.
Dave Hawkins spent most of the day boarding up a friend’s house because the owner is out of town. The Zephyrhills resident worries high winds may still do some damage.
“If the roof doesn’t blow off, that’s the question. If it really comes with 130, 150 mile an hour winds, these boards aren’t gonna do a thing,” Hawkins said.
Nearby, another neighbor with hurricane windows is not confident they will hold up. “I think we’re gonna have really bad devastation before we get back here. We’re gonna be missing houses; I don’t expect this place to be here. And we’ve got a little workshop out back and we expect it to be gone too,” Mike Browne said.
The main drag, Atlantic Boulevard, is mostly empty, except for a few cars, police and a fire trucks. If the storm surge reaches the forecast of 5 to 9 feet, the entire area will be under water. That’s not good news for people who depend on the boardwalk area for their living.
Late Thursday Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach announced its campus had been evacuated. All on-campus residence halls have been evacuated. There is a designated shelter for students and staff. The university is providing food and water for students.