What will go down as one of the most potent hurricanes on record was blamed for at least 10 deaths in the
As night fell, authorities warned people to stay off the roads until the storm had passed, and the full extent of the damage likely wouldn't be clear until daybreak. The unofficial rainfall totals were already staggering: 18 inches in
"This is a very, very serious and deadly storm," Gov.
But in many places along the Southeast coast, the damage consisted mostly of flooded streets, blown-down signs and awnings, flattened trees and power outages.
As the storm passed and the skies cleared, people started cleaning up, reopening their businesses or hitting the beach. The power started coming back on. And all three major theme parks in
"This is not much compared to those two. When Charley and Frances came a large number of the commercial structure had damage. You have some commercial damage, but most of the damage to most of them is minor," he said.
On Saturday, Matthew sideswiped two of the South's oldest and most historic cities —
For nearly its entire run up the coast from
Its storm center, or eye, finally blew ashore just north of
Within an hour of residents being allowed to return Saturday to
"We got really lucky," he said. "We could be looking at a whole lot worse. All you see are downed signs, downed fences, a few gas station sign letters missing."
"It was raining really bad," he said. "There were some areas where you could see the water starting to overtake the bridges."
Matthew's deadly potential was made all too clear in
An estimated 2 million people in the Southeast were ordered to evacuate their homes as Matthew closed in. By hugging the coast, the storm pretty much behaved as forecasters predicted. A shift of just 20 or 30 miles could have meant widespread devastation.
"People got incredibly lucky,"
While Matthew's wind speed had dropped considerably by the time it hit the Southeast coast, the storm will still go down as one of the most potent hurricanes on record, based on such factors as wind energy and longevity, and one of the most long-lived major hurricanes, too.
It was a major hurricane — that is, with winds of at least 110 mph — for 7.25 days.
Hundreds of thousands of people were without power in
Four deaths were blamed on the storm in
Property data firm