Matthew weakens to post-tropical cyclone, continues record-breaking flooding

As Matthew heads off the Carolina coast, a high pressure system moves bringing some sunshine.

Strong winds continue over eastern North Carolina Sunday morning as Matthew moves offshore of the Carolina coast. The storm has weakened to a post-tropical cyclone, however, it continues to impact eastern North Carolina with rain and record-breaking flooding.

As of Sunday morning, the storm continues to sustain winds at 75 mph. A cold wind sweeping through is bringing high pressure to North Carolina. 

The National Hurricane Center discontinued all hurricane watches in its Sunday 11 a.m. advisory.

Matthew is forecasted to curve out into the Atlantic ocean. Meteorologists predicted the storm had a possibility of curving around and hitting the Florida coast again, now it appears it is primarily heading out into the central Atlantic and will dissipate. 

A wind advisory is in effect in Charlotte Sunday as that high pressure builds. Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich says north winds could gust between 30-40 mph, causing a strong possibility of downed trees.

A hurricane watch remains in effect from north of Surf City to Duck as well as Pamlico and Albemarle sounds. The National Hurricane Center explained that this means hurricane conditions are possible within that watch area within the next six to 12 hours.

The storm officially made landfall Saturday in McClellanville, S.C. at the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.

McCrory said Saturday afternoon that three people had died as a result of Matthew-related incidents. One person in Sampson County hydroplaned before crashing and two people were killed in a submerged vehicle in Bladen County. 

A fourth victim drowned in Harnett County after the victim drove past a barricade and was swept into a running creak, the county sheriff told Fox8.

"We've already had loss of life and we don't want anymore loss of life due to this very serious storm," McCrory said.

The North Carolina Electric Cooperatives' reported 200,000 outages as of 7 a.m. Sunday. 

Due to the torrential rain and potential for flooding in the area, Saturday's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway was postponed. Charlotte Motor Speedway officials announced the decision at 10:30 Saturday morning. The race is scheduled to begin Sunday at noon, with the NASCAR Xfinity Series race that was originally scheduled for Friday to take the green flag approximately 45 minutes after the Bank of America 500 concludes. 

In South Carolina, Governor Nikki Haley gave an update as the storm battered the state's coast Saturday morning. 

"We currently have 78 shelters with 6,651 residents, which is up from 4,250 last night," Haley said. "We have nine open special needs facilities with 52 residents in those. We still have plenty of room in all of our shelters." 

Haley reported that power outages were approaching almost half a million. Over 437,000 customers were without power as of 10 a.m. Saturday.

"There is nothing safe about what is getting ready to happen," Nikki Haley said Friday. "This is the last time you will hear my voice when I am asking you to evacuate. We need everybody to consider evacuating and take this very seriously."

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At least four people died in Florida and over 1.1 million people were without power. An elderly St. Lucie County couple died from carbon monoxide fumes while running a generator in their garage and two women were killed in separate events when trees fell on a home and a camper.

As of 6 a.m. Saturday, more than 125,000 power outages have been reported by utilities operating in the Low Country as a result of Hurricane Matthew. South Carolina Electric & Gas Company reported a total of 105,404 outages statewide, while South Carolina's Berkeley County Electric Cooperative reported 20,114.

People in coastal areas should stay off the roads because “they will die,” warned Tom Johnson, emergency manager for the South Carolina Department of Transportation.

“We are not anticipating going out and clearing any roadways or anything of that matter until at least Sunday morning,” Johnson said.

Charleston's police chief announced a midnight to 6 a.m. curfew for Friday to protect the public from the high tide expected at 1 a.m. “We do not want to deal with individuals who get themselves trapped out in this severe situation,” Chief Greg Mullen said.

Of the 500,000 people instructed to leave low-lying coastal areas, Haley said that more than 300,000 people had pulled out. Many of those who didn't, she said, were on Daniel Island, a 4,000-acre area on the east bank of the Cooper River in Charleston.

At least 18 roads in the city of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., are impassable, officials say, as the western eyewall of Hurricane Matthew moved along the lower South Carolina coast at 5 a.m. ET Saturday. Charleston County authorities reported trees and power lines down throughout the county as 1,538 people waited out the storm in shelters.

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