The Latest on Hurricane Matthew (all times local):

4 a.m.

The western edge of Hurricane Matthew's eyewall is approaching Cape Canaveral early Friday as the storm batters Florida's coast with howling wind and driving rain.

The Category 3 storm is threatening to make a direct hit on Florida as it moves up the coast.

But even though the eye is still off-shore, Florida is already seeing strong winds. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says sustained winds of 46 mph and a gust of 70 mph have been reported in Melbourne, Florida.

More than 240,000 in Florida are without power.

Two million people were warned to flee inland as the most powerful storm to threaten the Atlantic coast in more than a decade charged toward Florida. Matthew left more than 280 dead in its wake across the Caribbean.

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2:20 a.m.

Hurricane Matthew's howling wind and driving rain pummeled Florida early Friday, starting what's expected to be a ruinous, dayslong battering of the Southeast coast. The strongest winds were just offshore, but Matthew's wrath still menaced more than 500 miles of coastline.

Matthew weakened slightly Friday morning to a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds near 120 mph. But the U.S. National Hurricane Center says it's expected to remain a powerful hurricane as it moves closer to Florida's coast.

Two million people were warned to flee inland as the most powerful storm to threaten the Atlantic coast in more than a decade charged toward Florida. Matthew left more than 280 dead in its wake across the Caribbean.