DISASTERS

Matthew hammers Florida, begins dayslong beating of coast

  • This GOES East satellite image posted at 5:12 p.m. and provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows Hurricane Matthew moving northwest along the east coast of Florida, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Leaving more than 100 dead in its wake across the Caribbean, Hurricane Matthew steamed toward heavily populated Florida with terrifying winds of 140 mph Thursday, and 2 million people across the Southeast were warned to flee inland.  (NOAA via AP)

    This GOES East satellite image posted at 5:12 p.m. and provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows Hurricane Matthew moving northwest along the east coast of Florida, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Leaving more than 100 dead in its wake across the Caribbean, Hurricane Matthew steamed toward heavily populated Florida with terrifying winds of 140 mph Thursday, and 2 million people across the Southeast were warned to flee inland. (NOAA via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Michael Blackman, left, and Sam Titus board up a bar a few blocks off the beach Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in Daytona Beach, Fla. Hurricane Matthew continues to churn its way toward Florida's east coast. The bar is planning on staying open during Matthew. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

    Michael Blackman, left, and Sam Titus board up a bar a few blocks off the beach Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in Daytona Beach, Fla. Hurricane Matthew continues to churn its way toward Florida's east coast. The bar is planning on staying open during Matthew. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)  (The Associated Press)

  • Power crews with Pike Electric from all over the United States including Texas, Georgia and North Caroline prepare their trucks in Pembroke Pines, Fla., for response as needed to power outages due to Hurricane Matthew Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016.  Hurricane Matthew returned to Category 4 strength Thursday morning and could be producing "extremely dangerous" sustained winds of 145 mph by the time it approaches South Florida later today, the National Hurricane Center said. (Taimy Alvarez/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) Taimy Alvarez, Sun Sentinel ...SOUTH FLORIDA OUT; NO MAGS; NO SALES; NO INTERNET; NO TV...

    Power crews with Pike Electric from all over the United States including Texas, Georgia and North Caroline prepare their trucks in Pembroke Pines, Fla., for response as needed to power outages due to Hurricane Matthew Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Hurricane Matthew returned to Category 4 strength Thursday morning and could be producing "extremely dangerous" sustained winds of 145 mph by the time it approaches South Florida later today, the National Hurricane Center said. (Taimy Alvarez/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) Taimy Alvarez, Sun Sentinel ...SOUTH FLORIDA OUT; NO MAGS; NO SALES; NO INTERNET; NO TV...  (The Associated Press)

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.