TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – The Latest on Hurricane Matthew in Florida (all times local):
Dan Brooks let out exaggerated howl when he got out of his truck to see the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew to his Sunrise Surf Shop on Jacksonville Beach.
Winds had blown off the facade and long sheets of metal siding blocked the glass front door. Piles of metal sheets stretched across the 80-foot length of the store’s front.
Brooks exclaimed, “Yowwww,” before a crowd of friends and customers who had gathered Saturday in the parking lot of the 40-year-old surfboard and skateboard shop, a local institution.
Brooks gathered up some shingles and walked to the back of the building.
He said the damage was, “crazy stuff” but “nobody was hurt, and that’s all that matters.”
More than 760,000 people are without power in Florida as of 3 p.m.
There are downed business signs, overturned fences and the tip of the pier’s end appears to have washed away, but Jacksonville Beach residents are surprised at how normal everything looks on the beach’s restaurant-and-bar-filled promenade following a pounding by Hurricane Matthew.
Derek Hyde, who lives a block from the beach, was surprised Saturday to find his power and water on at his apartment when he returned from evacuation. As he surveyed the scene under sunny conditions, Hyde said, “I’m going to the beach in a few minutes, so I’d say it’s a good day.”
About two dozen surfers beat him to the water.
But one of them, Connor Deputy, was disappointed.
“The waves suck,” he said. “They are small and weak and there’s a lot of offshore winds.”
Some Floridians are starting to get their power back on.
State officials released new numbers mid-day Saturday that showed that the number of customers without power was now hovering just under 879,000. More than 1 million people lost power as a result of Hurricane Matthew scraping along the east coast over the last two days.
Nearly 60 percent of the customers in the Jacksonville area – more than 242,000 — were among those who still not have electricity.
There remain significant power outages in the coastal counties stretching southward to Melbourne and nearly 192,000 customers are in the dark in Volusia County. More than 70,000 customers in Central Florida also do not have electricity.
Officials in Flagler County say residents who left their homes in preparation for Hurricane Matthew can now return.
In a news release sent on Saturday afternoon, County Administrator Craig Coffey warns people to be careful because there could be some hazards on roadways.
Motorists are reminded to treat inoperable stop lights as four-way stops.
County officials say only residents and safety personnel will be allowed onto barrier island and that proof of residency is required.
A curfew is also in effect on the barrier island from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Curfews have been lifted west of the Intracoastal Waterway.
The news release says alcohol sales remain suspended in Flagler County, which is north of Daytona Beach.
Gov. Rick Scott says Florida is “blessed” that it didn’t sustain a direct hit from Hurricane Matthew.
On Saturday, Scott toured Florida’s east coast and said the storm surge from the powerful storm caused “unbelievable” beach erosion and washed out some roads. But he says storm’s path off the coastline meant the state avoided severe destruction from the storm, which was a Category 4 as it approached Florida.
The damage was strong enough to knock out power for more than 1 million customers in several coastal counties. The storm has also been blamed for at least four deaths. Scott says the storm has downed trees and power lines and that some areas were still flooded.
More than 1.5 million Floridians were ordered to evacuate ahead of the storm. The governor says it’s too early to determine how many people heeded the orders to leave.
Sott says Florida’s major utility – Florida Power & Light – told him it expected to restore power for most of its customers by Sunday evening. Scott also says he suspended on highways in the state until at least Sunday night to give people time to return home.
Much of the street flooding in downtown St. Augustine has drained and damage across the city seems fairly minor as people start returning to the area a day after Hurricane Matthew pummeled the area with wind and rain.
On Saturday morning, property manager Nick Trunck was in the city’s historic district to check on three buildings, which include several shops and 14 apartments. He says he arrived at 5 a.m. “prepared for the worst.”
The buildings lost several shingles, an awning and water got into one area. The property owner had arranged for 10 men to come from Connecticut to help with cleanup after the storm but Trunck says he doesn’t “think we need anything but a couple of guys and a mop.”
Nearby, Snack Shop owner Tina Rumrell says her business only suffered from a power outage. While they’ll “probably lose all the food products,” she says she’s feeling “very fortunate.”
Local officials in the Jacksonville area announced that they will be reopening several bridges linking the city to beaches located in Duval County.
Thousands of people who live in the area evacuated ahead of Hurricane Matthew, which scraped Florida’s east coast over the last two days.
City officials in several Duval County beach towns said during a news conference that they did not have any reports of serious injuries. Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie Latham said there was damage to the Jacksonville Beach Pier, but otherwise did not detail any significant damage due to the storm.
PHOTOS: Tracking Hurricane Matthew in Florida
PHOTOS: Tracking Hurricane Matthew in Florida x
Tampa Bay Rays showcase mouth-watering new menu items before Opening Day
Tampa Pride 2017
Missing boater’s body found
Family & friends mourn Palmetto mother killed by daughter’s boyfriend
Largo Medical Center
Spring breakers arrested in Clearwater after ripping out stop sign
Mother of 3 boys killed in arson fire expresses gratitude for prayers at Calvary Baptist Church
Authorities discover remains of missing Palmetto mother Tricia Freeman
Gas leak at Hyde Park Village
Gas leak at Hyde Park Village
Police blocked all access to historic downtown St. Augustine, steering people away and telling them that bridges to barrier islands were closed after Hurricane Matthew battered the northeast Florida coastline.
One man approached a female police officer Saturday morning, saying his boss asked him check on his business. The officer responded, “tell your boss the mean old police officer wouldn’t let you in.”
Power crews were restoring lines, downed trees were being cut up and there were still some pools of water on the road. Flooding had been reported in many sections of the city south of Jacksonville.
Around 9 a.m. Saturday, the line of cars stretched for about a half-mile along Route 16 as people tried to get into the downtown area. But cars were being turned away, leaving many trying to find other ways to get downtown.
Officials in Volusia County say some bridges to the beaches are reopening after being closed as Hurricane Matthew approached. But officials warned that police will be “using discretion” in allowing access to the areas hit by the storm.
A news release from Volusia County’s Community Information team on Saturday morning says that in Daytona Beach, the following streets opened only to residents at 7 a.m.: Seabreeze, Main Street and International Speedway Boulevard. Resident will have to show a valid identification for access.
In Port Orange, the Dunlawton Bridge opened Saturday morning. And the Granada Bridge in Ormond Beach opened at 7 a.m.
There was no word on any other bridges opening in the area.
Florida’s major theme parks are up and running again after closing down in advance of Hurricane Matthew.
Walt Disney World opened the gates to all four of its parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom – at 8 a.m. Saturday. The water parks and Disney Springs are also open on Saturday.
Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Legoland Florida Resort were also reopening on Saturday morning.
The theme parks closed early on Thursday as Hurricane Matthew approached the state and all were shut down on Friday.
Slightly more than 1 million customers in Florida remain in the dark in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.
Hurricane Matthew lashed Florida over a two-day period as it slowly grinded along the Atlantic coast. State officials said Saturday that many people between Melbourne and Jacksonville are without power.
The 6 a.m. update shows that half of all customers in Jacksonville – nearly 216,000 – don’t have electricity.
To the south roughly 85 percent of Volusia County and almost all customers in Flagler County remain without electricity. Three-quarters of St. Johns County – home to St. Augustine – is without power. And nearly half the customers in Brevard County are without electricity.
Roughly 1.5 million Floridians were ordered to evacuate ahead of Matthew. State officials say more than 7,000 people spent Friday night in shelters.