Florida under water: Entire towns are submerged by Hurricane Matthew’s devastating flash floods as Georgia and the Carolinas wait their ‘turn’

Hurricane Matthew’s devastating storm surges have caused widespread coastal flooding in north and central Florida, with several towns effectively under water. 

The hurricane, which has already claimed more than 840 victims in the Caribbean and two in the US, has spent most of Friday barreling up Florida’s east coast at roughly 12mph, bringing with it winds of up to 120mph.

As of 5pm, it weakened slightly to a category 2 hurricane over the Atlantic, but was still generating winds of 110mph, having passed St Augustine and on its way up to Jacksonville.

Jacksonville was facing storm surges of up to nine feet, according to forecasters. Mayor Lenny Curry said anything over three feet in the city is life-threatening. Video and pictures showed coastal waters crashing over any sort of flood defense with ease, while Jacksonville Pier was ripped clean off while being battered by the winds.

As Matthew’s eyewall brushed parts of Florida’s northeast coast, fears mounted it will now make landfall, potentially in Georgia and the Carolinas. 

Storm surges in coastal Georgia and South Carolina could reach up to nine feet, bringing with it some 15 inches of rain. Hurricane warnings are in effect up as far as Wilmington, North Carolina.

Scroll down for videos 

Not going anywhere: Rob Birch checks on his car which floated out of his drive way as Hurrican Matthew passes through the are in St Augustine; the area has been particularly badly hit by flooding

Not going anywhere: Rob Birch checks on his car which floated out of his drive way as Hurrican Matthew passes through the are in St Augustine; the area has been particularly badly hit by flooding

Devastated: Nick Lomasney walks through heavy wind and a flooded street in St Augustine; Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas have all declared a state of emergency in preparation for Matthew

Devastated: Nick Lomasney walks through heavy wind and a flooded street in St Augustine; Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas have all declared a state of emergency in preparation for Matthew

Stuck: A man named Paul checks on his car that sits in a flood street in St Augustine; storm surges of several feet have battered the area

Stuck: A man named Paul checks on his car that sits in a flood street in St Augustine; storm surges of several feet have battered the area

Local residents Michael & Tori Munton make their way through the flooded streets of downtown historic Saint Marys, Georgia, as the state and the Carolinas were preparing for the worst

Local residents Michael & Tori Munton make their way through the flooded streets of downtown historic Saint Marys, Georgia, as the state and the Carolinas were preparing for the worst

Power surge: An incredible video caught from a high-rise by Jacksonville Pier showed the moment coastal water simply proved too much and burst through into the town

Power surge: An incredible video caught from a high-rise by Jacksonville Pier showed the moment coastal water simply proved too much and burst through into the town

In St Augustine, about 20 people, including children, are trapped at a bed and breakfast, although Mayor Nancy Shaver told CNN that they are ‘not guests of the inn’ and apparently young people who have chosen to stay there.

Gov Scott urged people to ‘take care’ of themselves.

‘I can’t send in first responders to save you in the middle of the storm,’ he told CBS This Morning. 

A woman aged in her late 50s died overnight after she suffered a heart attack not longer after the St Lucie Fire Department stopped responding to emergency calls due to wind gusts. An 82-year-old man who was unconscious and having difficult breathing also died after someone drove him to the hospital. Emergency services were unable to respond, according to the Palm Beach Post. 

A third person died in Volusia County, when a tree fell on her while she was feeding animals outside her home, according to WFTV.

An elderly couple were found unconscious by their neighbor after passing out from carbon monoxide poisoning thought to have been emitted by the generator they were using. The pair are now in hospital in a critical condition.  

Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s governor, issued a warning to 100 or so islanders planning to ride out the storm on Daufuskie Island.

‘If you know anybody that is staying, it is going to be underwater, she said.’ I know people will say “oh it’ll pass it’ll pass. It is getting worse.’

Similarly, about 100 people on Georgia’s Tybee Island have decided to ride out the storm, some of them even heading to the local bar.

Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center, told those in Georgia and South Carolina to evacuate.

‘Don’t be part of the history of this hurricane that might include a long list of fatalities in the US due to water.’

Where has the sea wall gone?

Gone: Such was the severity of the storm surge, St Augustine's seawall completely vanished

Gone: Such was the severity of the storm surge, St Augustine’s seawall completely vanished while under attack

Battering ram: Wind and water from Matthew hits downtown St Augustine; although the hurricane has now been downgraded to a Category 2, it still has done significant damage

Battering ram: Wind and water from Matthew hits downtown St Augustine; although the hurricane has now been downgraded to a Category 2, it still has done significant damage

Wading through: Nick Lomasney walks through heavy wind and a flooded street in St Augustine submerged up to his waist

Wading through: Nick Lomasney walks through heavy wind and a flooded street in St Augustine submerged up to his waist

Battling the elements: Justin Dossett walks through a flooded street in St Augustine, despite the driving rain and flood water up to his knees

Battling the elements: Justin Dossett walks through a flooded street in St Augustine, despite the driving rain and flood water up to his knees

Not bicycle weather: John Nock walks with his bike through a flooded street in downtown St Augustine

Not bicycle weather: John Nock walks with his bike through a flooded street in downtown St Augustine

Brian Johns is hit by a wave as he tries to video the effects of the hurricane in Daytona Beach

Great time for a beer and a selfie

Great time for a beer and a selfie: Brian Johns is hit by a wave as he tries to video the effects of the hurricane in Daytona Beach

Battering: Heavy waves caused by Matthew pound the docks at the Sunset Bar and Grill in Cocoa Beach, about 80 miles south of Daytona Beach

People have been warned that life-threatening surges could hit the coast; how high the surge is depends on intensity, speed of the storm, size, angle and pressure

People have been warned that life-threatening surges could hit the coast; how high the surge is depends on intensity, speed of the storm, size, angle and pressure

No mail today: Heavy waves crash into and destroy the boats docks at the Sunset Bar and Grill on Cocoa Beach

No mail today: Heavy waves crash into and destroy the boats docks at the Sunset Bar and Grill on Cocoa Beach

Hurricane Matthew caused multiple sail boats to become unmoored from Halifax Harbour Marina, Florida, USA, and float three miles down the Halifax River

James Gavin, who caputred the moments a yacht almost capsized and debris flew past another vessel in 100mph winds

Hurricane Matthew caused multiple sail boats to become unmoored from Halifax Harbour Marina, Florida, and float three miles down the Halifax River past James Gavin, who caputred the moments a yacht almost capsized and debris flew past another vessel in 100mph winds

A boat is partially submerged in the Halifax River after Matthew caused multiple boats to become unmoored from the harbour marina several miles away

A boat is partially submerged in the Halifax River after Matthew caused multiple boats to become unmoored from the harbour marina several miles away

Swimming on the speedway: Water covers portions of International Speedway Boulevard in Daytona Beach after serious storm surges hit the area

Swimming on the speedway: Water covers portions of International Speedway Boulevard in Daytona Beach after serious storm surges hit the area

Kaleigh Black, 14, left, and Amber Olsen, 12, run for cover as they are pelted with waves at the Cocoa Beach Pier

A man braces himself against the winds as he attempts to walk in the rain in Daytona Beach

Kaleigh Black, 14, left, and Amber Olsen, 12, run for cover as they are pelted with waves at the Cocoa Beach Pier; A man braces himself against the winds as he attempts to walk in the rain in Daytona Beach

President Obama said that despite the fact central and south Florida was not as seriously damaged as feared, Matthew remains a ‘dangerous hurricane’.

‘The big concern is the effect it could have in areas like Jacksonville and on through Georgia,’ he said in the Oval Office. 

Many of you will remember Hurricane Sandy where initially people thought this doesn’t look as bad as we thought and then suddenly you get massive storm surge and a lot of people were severely affected.

‘We’re still on the front end of this hurricane, we’re not on the backend. So we don’t know how bad the damage could end up, we don’t know how severe the storm surge could end up being. And we’re not going to know for 3, 4, 5 days what the ultimate effects of this are.’

He added that the governors of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas were doing an excellent job keeping on top of the storm’s movements.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal urged residents who have evacuated their homes not to risk their lives by going back too soon. 

‘There comes a point where we cannot jeopardize the lives of our first responders any further,’ he said. 

Stripped: A billboard canvas flaps in the wind in North Palm Beach, Florida, after Category 3 Hurricane Matthew passed off shore with top sustained winds of 120mph

Stripped: A billboard canvas flaps in the wind in North Palm Beach, Florida, after Category 3 Hurricane Matthew passed off shore with top sustained winds of 120mph

Stripped away: Parts of the exterior wall of the oceanfront Hilton Daytona Beach Resort falls off as the eye of Hurricane Matthew passes the area reaching winds of up to 120mph

Stripped away: Parts of the exterior wall of the oceanfront Hilton Daytona Beach Resort falls off as the eye of Hurricane Matthew passes the area reaching winds of up to 120mph

Debris flies through the air as the eye of Hurricane Matthew nears Daytona Beach; there are signs that a direct hit with land will be avoided if the hurricane continues to move in a northerly direction

Debris flies through the air as the eye of Hurricane Matthew nears Daytona Beach; there are signs that a direct hit with land will be avoided if the hurricane continues to move in a northerly direction

Collapsed: The roof of a gas station that fell off, fortunately with no cars around, in Daytona

Collapsed: The roof of a gas station that fell off, fortunately with no cars around, in Daytona

Brian Farmer, left, and Jason R. Procell Sr., 47, take photos of the storm damage  from a balcony overlooking the courtyard of the Bay Towers apartments in Titusville, Florida, which is sandwich in between Edgewater and Cocoa

Brian Farmer, left, and Jason R. Procell Sr., 47, take photos of the storm damage from a balcony overlooking the courtyard of the Bay Towers apartments in Titusville, Florida, which is sandwich in between Edgewater and Cocoa

Road hazard: A car drives past a downed tree after Matthew created havoc in the Daytona area 

Road hazard: A car drives past a downed tree after Matthew created havoc in the Daytona area 

Two million people across the Southeast were warned to flee inland as tens of millions along 500 miles of coastline battened down the hatches.

The ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ storm is the most powerful hurricane to threaten the U.S. Atlantic coast in more than a decade and could be the most catastrophic to hit the north and east of Florida in 118 years. 

‘We are just bracing and the winds are picking up,’ Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry told CNN early on Friday. 

‘A great number of our residents have taken heed to our warnings and we are certainly concerned about those that have not.’   

Flags blow in the winds of Hurricane Matthew on Cocoa Beach, which passed by offshore

Palm trees blow in the rain and wind in Ormond Beach

Flags blow in the winds of Hurricane Matthew on Cocoa Beach (left), which passed by offshore, while right, palm trees blow in the rain and wind in Ormond Beach some 90 miles away

Crashed to earth: The roof of a nearby business lies on a street after the eye of Matthew passed by Daytona

Crashed to earth: The roof of a nearby business lies on a street after the eye of Matthew passed by Daytona

Damaged facade: The bell tower at the Plaza hotel suffered significant damage, with chunks of it falling to the ground

Damaged facade: The bell tower at the Plaza hotel suffered significant damage, with chunks of it falling to the ground

Bombarded: Daytona Beach's Plaza Resort and Spa took a heavy hit, with bits of debris scattered across the front entrance

Bombarded: Daytona Beach’s Plaza Resort and Spa took a heavy hit, with bits of debris scattered across the front entrance

Braced for flooding: Daytona Beach at 8.30am was being battered as wind began to pick up, with the first signs of damage and debris

Braced for flooding: Daytona Beach at 8.30am was being battered as wind began to pick up, with the first signs of damage and debris

Center of the action: Wind beats on awnings and palm trees on the oceanfront as the eye of Hurricane Matthew approaches Daytona Beach, Florida, which is expected to get some of the heaviest wind speeds and gusts

Center of the action: Wind beats on awnings and palm trees on the oceanfront as the eye of Hurricane Matthew approaches Daytona Beach, Florida, which is expected to get some of the heaviest wind speeds and gusts

More to come: Awnings from an oceanfront shopping area lie on the ground as the eye of Matthew approaches a deserted Daytona Beach

More to come: Awnings from an oceanfront shopping area lie on the ground as the eye of Matthew approaches a deserted Daytona Beach

Bad weather for a convertible: A driver travels under heavy rain and wind in Atlantic Beach; despite people being urged to evacuate, many stayed behind to wait the storm out 

Bad weather for a convertible: A driver travels under heavy rain and wind in Atlantic Beach; despite people being urged to evacuate, many stayed behind to wait the storm out 

Seminole mobile home park resident Laura Molls inspects her damaged car under a tree in Fort Pierce, Florida

Seminole mobile home park resident Laura Molls inspects her damaged car under a tree in Fort Pierce, Florida

Welcome home: A Seminole mobile home park resident climbs over a uprooted tree in Fort Pierce, Florida after Matthew blew past the area; her home appears to be largely intact 

Welcome home: A Seminole mobile home park resident climbs over a uprooted tree in Fort Pierce, Florida after Matthew blew past the area; her home appears to be largely intact 

The clean-up begins: Maricela Carrera cleans up after Matthew passed through the Fort Pierce area in Florida; the hurricane is expected to make landfall sometime this evening

The clean-up begins: Maricela Carrera cleans up after Matthew passed through the Fort Pierce area in Florida; the hurricane is expected to make landfall sometime this evening

Surveying the damage: Jim Griggs and Marlin Whaley clean up after Matthew blew by their home in Fort Pierce. Aside from some debris in the yard, it looked like their house largely got away unscathed

Surveying the damage: Jim Griggs and Marlin Whaley clean up after Matthew blew by their home in Fort Pierce. Aside from some debris in the yard, it looked like their house largely got away unscathed

Clearing the roads: Mike Hunter and Sean Gregwire clear downed trees in Fellsmere, Florida, some 20 miles from Melbourne

Clearing the roads: Mike Hunter and Sean Gregwire clear downed trees in Fellsmere, Florida, some 20 miles from Melbourne

Felled: A downed tree from high winds rests against a car in a residential area of Ormond Beach, Florida

Felled: A downed tree from high winds rests against a car in a residential area of Ormond Beach, Florida

Nice weather for a run? Austin Massett runs through an area beginning to flood close to St Augustine, Florida

A police officer tries to shield himself from winds from Matthew

Nice weather for a run? Austin Massett  (left) runs through an area beginning to flood close to St Augustine, Florida; while right, a police officer tries to shielf himself from win as he checks his phone

Batten down the hatches: Waves from Hurricane Matthew batter a boat dock in St Augustine; the storm was downgraded to Category three overnight but is still a fierce one

Batten down the hatches: Waves from Hurricane Matthew batter a boat dock in St Augustine; the storm was downgraded to Category three overnight but is still a fierce one

A sailboat takes on water as she sits on her side in the Indian River in Rockledge, Florida after Matthew skirted the east coast

A sailboat takes on water as she sits on her side in the Indian River in Rockledge, Florida after Matthew skirted the east coast

Matthew took its toll on Port St Lucie, Florida, as well with various boats sunk into high waters and large trees uprooted

Matthew took its toll on Port St Lucie, Florida, as well with various boats sunk into high waters and large trees uprooted

Winds gusted as high as 91mph in Daytona Beach, with some damage already being reported. Pictures showed debris strewn across the Daytona Plaza beach resort.

Residents south of the Pineda Causeway using city of Melbourne water were advised to boil water to be used for drinking, cooking or brushing teeth. 

St Augustine has experienced widespread flooding as the 451-year-old city was battered with waves and storm surge that could top eight feet.

Mayor Nancy Shaver said the flooding ‘is just going to get higher and higher and higher’. She added that roughly half of the city’s 14,000 residents chose to stay in their homes. 

Brevard County cities thus far however have reported no major structural damage, although power outages are widespread. 

Military troops have been mobilized in Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Thousands of National Guard soldiers and airmen were activated, while navy ships and Air Force aircraft have been evacuated from bases that are likely to be hit to safe spots until they are asked to assist.

Brevard County Fire service has declared it’s ‘too dangerous’ for them to respond to emergency calls as Matthew approaches. Live power lines have been knocked down and everyone has been urged to stay indoors.

Romantic stroll: A couple walk along the Sanford Riverwalk along Lake Monroe as strong winds and rain continue to lash downtown Sanford, Florida; authorities have warned the danger is far from over

Romantic stroll: A couple walk along the Sanford Riverwalk along Lake Monroe as strong winds and rain continue to lash downtown Sanford, Florida; authorities have warned the danger is far from over

Desert town: Just one car can be seen on the roads of Jacksonville, in the north of the state; the city could be particularly badly hit by the hurricane and the storm surges it brings with it

Desert town: Just one car can be seen on the roads of Jacksonville, in the north of the state; the city could be particularly badly hit by the hurricane and the storm surges it brings with it

President Barack Obama speaks alongside FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate (L) and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson (R) about Hurricane Matthew following the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office

President Barack Obama speaks alongside FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate (L) and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson (R) about Hurricane Matthew following the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office

On Thursday, the University of Florida’s scheduled football game against LSU was postponed due to the storm.

Despite the dire warnings however, some brave – or stupid – people opted to stay behind, party and even surf as the storm hit US shores.

People across the state held ‘Hurricane Parties’ at home, while others hit the beach in bikinis. Some Floridians were even seen packed into bars on the beach, in particular Elbo Room in Fort Lauderdale.

And in a surreal turn of events, the 1990s rapper Vanilla Ice, live tweeted his experience from Palm Beach. 

Early on Friday morning, he tweeted: ‘It looks like a mess with debris and some flooding here but overall Palm Beach handled it very well. #HurricaneMatthew’.

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, police in Pawleys Island have sent out a waiver form for residents who have refused to evacuate to sign.

The form asks the residents to acknowledge ‘I have refused to comply with the evacuation and leave the Island. My next of kin can be reached as follows.’

The only and last Category Four hurricane to make landfall anywhere in northeast Florida or the Georgia coast was in 1898, according to The Weather Channel.  

A satellite picture taken on Thursday shows the power on

A second satellite picture taken 24 hours later - on Friday - shows how much was knocked out

Lights out, Florida: These two satellite images were taken 24 hours apart, on Thursday and Friday, showing how much power has been knocked out in the state overnight

As of 4pm the hurricane was barreling up the east coast towards Jacksonville, bringing with it heavy flooding across the state; Georgia and South Carolina were bracing themselves for what was to happen next

As of 4pm the hurricane was barreling up the east coast towards Jacksonville, bringing with it heavy flooding across the state; Georgia and South Carolina were bracing themselves for what was to happen next

At 1.10pm, the eye wall of the hurricane has moved largely past Daytona Beach and was bearing down on St Augustine and Jacksonville; the areas could be susceptible to heavy flooding

At 1.10pm, the eye wall of the hurricane has moved largely past Daytona Beach and was bearing down on St Augustine and Jacksonville; the areas could be susceptible to heavy flooding

This graphic identifies where the storm surge (rising water moving inland by the force of the wind) is most likely to reach and who is at most at risk; Earlier fears of 11ft surges appear to have subsided but Jacksonville and Savannah was facing 9ft

This graphic identifies where the storm surge (rising water moving inland by the force of the wind) is most likely to reach and who is at most at risk; Earlier fears of 11ft surges appear to have subsided but Jacksonville and Savannah was facing 9ft

The number of homes and businesses without power jumped by the hour as the full force of Matthew edged closer to the coast. More than 600,000 were in the dark by early Friday

The number of homes and businesses without power jumped by the hour as the full force of Matthew edged closer to the coast. More than 600,000 were in the dark by early Friday

Windy cities: The wind speed map as of 1pm showed that St Augustine was getting the brunt of the storm, with speeds of 49mph and gusts of 60mph; Even Tampa, on the Gulf coast, was being hit by strong winds

Windy cities: The wind speed map as of 1pm showed that St Augustine was getting the brunt of the storm, with speeds of 49mph and gusts of 60mph; Even Tampa, on the Gulf coast, was being hit by strong winds

Path of destruction: The coast off Jacksonville should see winds as high as 105mph early Saturday, with Charleston then facing 90mph on Saturday before the hurricane begins to head back out to the Atlantic on Sunday

Path of destruction: The coast off Jacksonville should see winds as high as 105mph early Saturday, with Charleston then facing 90mph on Saturday before the hurricane begins to head back out to the Atlantic on Sunday

Path of the storm: By Saturday morning, Matthew should be firmly entrenched in South Carolina, moving slowly up the coast and touching North Carolina through the day; it will hopefully have moved back out to the Atlantic by Sunday morning

Path of the storm: By Saturday morning, Matthew should be firmly entrenched in South Carolina, moving slowly up the coast and touching North Carolina through the day; it will hopefully have moved back out to the Atlantic by Sunday morning

Out of this world: The most recent view of Matthew taken from space, courtesy of Nasa. Pictured to its right is the smaller Category Two hurricane Nicole

Out of this world: The most recent view of Matthew taken from space, courtesy of Nasa. Pictured to its right is the smaller Category Two hurricane Nicole

At the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, NASA no longer has to worry about rolling space shuttles back from the launch pad to the hangar because of hurricanes, since the shuttle fleet is now retired. But the spaceflight company SpaceX was concerned about the storm’s effect on its leased seaside pad.

‘We are closed Thursday and Friday. Hurricane preparations were completed last night & employees sent home. After storm, teams will assess damage,’ the Kennedy Space Center tweeted.

The devastating hurricane had already left more than 570 dead by Friday morning in its wake across the Caribbean as it laid waste to large swathes of coastal Haiti. Hundreds more have now been confirmed dead.

Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the Miami-based National Hurricane Center in Miami, said: ‘What we know is that most of the lives lost in hurricanes is due to storm surge.’  .

MORE THAN 4,500 FLIGHT CANCELED AS FLORIDA SLOWLY BEGINS TO REOPEN ITS AIRPORTS AND CRUISE PORTS 

Travel slowly began to resume in parts of Florida on Friday, one day after more than 4,500 flights were canceled and the state’s major cruise ports shut down

Travelers in the southern part of the state woke up to good news as airports began to open their doors and flights got back on the departures board.

But operations remained shut in much of the central and northeastern parts of the state as residents continue to wait and see if Matthew will make landfall.

AIRPORTS

That’s the case in Jacksonville, where residents were warned of a ‘worst case storm surge scenario’.

Forecasters warned that a ‘direct impact’ by Matthew on land would make it unlike ‘an hurricane in the modern era’, according to ABC News.

Jacksonville International Airport announced on Friday that all flights were canceled.

Orlando International Airport also ceased all commercial flight operations, making the decision to shut down at 8pm on Thursday.

It does not expect to ‘gradually resume’ flight operations until Saturday.

The airport itself did not close, but advised passengers to avoid using the airport to wait out the storm as it was not an approved Red Cross shelter.

But transportation began to slowly resume in the south of Florida, where cities like Miami and Fort Lauderdale missed the brunt of the storm.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport reopened their terminals on Friday morning.

It added that Southwest Airlines, Air Canada, Allegiant and Carribean Airlines had cancelled all their flights for the day and were expected to resume operations on Saturday.

Many flights from other airlines remained canceled throughout Friday morning, but most departures after noon remain scheduled or, at most, delayed.

Airlines at Miami International Airport gradually resumed their operations on Friday, although many flights remained cancelled through noon as well.

Tampa International Airport is also open and in operation, posting on Twitter that the FAA was showing ‘general delays of 15 minutes or less’ at the airport.

Palm Beach International Airport planned to resume normal operations by noon on Friday.

CRUISES & TRAINS

Port Miami, known as the ‘Cruise Capital of the World’, announced on Friday it would reopen after US Coast Guard inspections and navigation assessments were made to ensure ‘all is clear and safe for vessel traffic’.

Port Everglades remained closed to all ship and truck traffic on Friday, with no cruise ships scheduled to depart until Saturday.

Amtrak services remained suspended in the south due to severe weather impacting the east coast of Florida.

Up to seven million are under threat of losing power as Matthew smashes its way across the Sunshine State.

Forecasters said it could dump up to 15 inches of rain in some spots and cause a storm surge of 11 feet or more. 

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for Florida and South Carolina, freeing up federal money and personnel to protect lives and property.

Travel slowly began to resume in parts of Florida on Friday, one day after more than 4,000 flights were canceled and the state’s major cruise ports shut down

Travelers in the southern part of the state woke up to good news as airports began to open their doors and flights got back on the departures board.

But operations remained shut in much of the central and northeastern parts of the state as residents continue to wait and see if Matthew will make landfall.

That’s the case in Jacksonville, where residents were warned of a ‘worst case storm surge scenario’. 

In South Carolina, police sent out a waiver form for residents who have refused to evacuate to sign (pictured).

In South Carolina, police sent out a waiver form for residents who have refused to evacuate to sign (pictured).

Amtrak suspended train services between Miami and New York, and cruise lines rerouted ships to avoid the storm, which in some cases will mean more days at sea.

Orlando’s world-famous theme parks – Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld – all closed, and remain shut today. It will reopen on Saturday.

Thousands of people hunkered down in schools converted to shelters, and inland hotels in places such as Charlotte, North Carolina, reported brisk business. 

Forecasters said it would then probably hug the coast of Georgia and South Carolina over the weekend before veering out to sea – perhaps even looping back toward Florida in the middle of next week as a tropical storm.

The Weather Channel warned late Thursday that this storm is expected to make ‘history’ and is ‘like no storm in the record books,’ as central and north Florida have never been hit by a hurricane this strong.  

WILL HURRICANE MATTHEW AFFECT THE ELECTION? STORM SET TO STOP THOUSANDS OF FLORIDA RESIDENTS REGISTERING TO VOTE IN THE CRUCIAL SWING STATE

Florida’s Governor has sparked fury after refusing to extend the voting registration deadline despite the killer Hurricane Matthew slamming the state.

Republican Governor Rick Scott, who has endorsed Donald Trump, was labelled ‘disgusting, shameless and opportunistic’ for refusing the extension, which many feel could benefit his party.

Hillary Clinton had requested an extension as the storm hit in the final few days for registration, at a time when the Democrats are starting to edge ahead in the key swing state.

The voting registration deadline is set for Tuesday, which may make it difficult for thousands being forced to evacuate their homes ahead of the storm, which Governor Scott himself described as ‘a monster’.

Although he justified his decision not to extend the deadline – in a state considered a must-win by the candidate he back, Donald Trump – at a press conference yesterday.

‘Everybody’s had a lot of time to register. On top of that, we have lots of opportunities to vote, early voting and absentee voting, so I don’t intend to make any changes,’ he said.

Forecasters predict Matthew will bring a dangerous storm surge to some parts of Florida that will be even worse than what happened in New Jersey during Super Storm Sandy in 2012.

Weather forecasters say the eye of the hurricane may never make landfall, however, the eyewall which contains the strongest winds, may do so.  

Many boarded up their homes and businesses and left them to the mercy of the storm.

‘We’re not going to take any chances on this one,’ said Daniel Myras, who struggled to find enough plywood to protect his restaurant, the Cruising Cafe, two blocks from the Daytona Beach boardwalk.

DISNEY WORLD CLOSES DOWN FOR ONLY THE FOURTH TIME IN ITS 45-YEAR HISTORY 

Walt Disney World has shuttered up for the fourth time in its history as Hurricane Matthew bears down on the Sunshine State. 

As the storm approached Florida on Thursday night, the park and several of its entities in Orlando also shut their doors. 

Tragic kingdom: Walt Disney World was a total ghost town on Friday afternoon after it closed for only the fourth time in history - the previous three occasions had all been for hurricanes

Tragic kingdom: Walt Disney World was a total ghost town on Friday afternoon after it closed for only the fourth time in history – the previous three occasions had all been for hurricanes

Free parking? The car park near Disney's Epcot Center was completely empty; the park is planning to reopen on Saturday

Free parking? The car park near Disney’s Epcot Center was completely empty; the park is planning to reopen on Saturday

Since the park opened in 1971 it has only closed three other times – all for hurricanes.

Disney closed down in September 1999 for Hurricane Floyd, for Hurricane Frances in September 2004 and again in September 2004 for Hurricane Jeanne, according to CNBC. 

The park was also evacuated within 30 minutes on 9/11 but was not shut down prior. 

The eye of the storm was predicted to be nearing Orlando as of 11am on Friday. 

Guests were also evacuated from several resorts. 

Fort Wilderness Campground, the Polynesian Bungalows, and the Saratoga Springs Treehouse Villas were all evacuated as Hurricane Matthew neared. 

Universal Orlando and SeaWorld also followed Disney’s lead and shut down for the evening on Thursday into Friday. 

Disney confirmed on Friday afternoon that it would reopen its parks on Saturday. 

Didn't want to visit anyway: Another tweet from the same user shows lots of bored looking people stuck indoors at the Wilderness Lodge as they wait for the hurricane to blow over

Didn’t want to visit anyway: Another tweet from the same user shows lots of bored looking people stuck indoors at the Wilderness Lodge as they wait for the hurricane to blow over

A policewoman directs a couple to a bus at the Civic Center in Savannah, Georgia, to be evacuated to Augusta, some 130 miles northwest, ahead of the hurricane moving in

A policewoman directs a couple to a bus at the Civic Center in Savannah, Georgia, to be evacuated to Augusta, some 130 miles northwest, ahead of the hurricane moving in

A disabled woman and her family board a bus in Savannah, Georgia, to be evacuated to Augusta, some 130 miles northwest as Matthew closes in

A disabled woman and her family board a bus in Savannah, Georgia, to be evacuated to Augusta, some 130 miles northwest as Matthe