DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – High winds plagued Volusia County on Friday morning as Hurricane Matthew moved just offshore of the eastern coast of Florida, damaging a fishing pier, businesses and knocking out power to at least 240,000 residents.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Volusia County is expected to continue to have tropical storm force winds until early Saturday morning.
Officials urged people to stay put and stay off the roads. More than 4,000 people were in shelters by Friday afternoon, 18 shelters are at capacity, but they are not turning anyone away.
Hurricane Matthew left damage in its wake Friday, including a gas station in Daytona Beach that was leveled.
A Volusia County woman was killed after a tree fell on her during Hurricane Matthew on Friday. After a lull in the storm, she went outside to feed her animals when a tree toppled her, Volusia County Manager Jim Dinneen during a press conference.
The Sunglow Pier in Volusia County was damaged after the end of the fishing pier broke off, according to Volusia County Beach Safety and Ocean Rescue, but the restaurant was unharmed and still attached.
Volusia County Sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson says at least four callers reported trees falling onto their homes in the Daytona Beach area after 7:30 a.m. Friday.
911 calls started streaming into Volusia County Sheriff's Office as Matthew moved up the coast into Volusia.
In one case, Davidson says a neighbor told dispatchers that the family got out safely after a tree collapsed on a home in Daytona Beach.
Another caller reported ceiling damage after a tree fell onto a house in nearby Ormond Beach.
No injuries were reported in any of these cases.
Peak winds for the Daytona Beach area were forecasted between the hours of 7 a.m. and noon Friday.
Street signs were reported to be down as wind gusts ripped through the area.
Flood warnings were issued in Seminole, north Brevard County and Volusia counties until 11:30 a.m.
Daytona Beach reported a wind gust of 67 mph.
News 6 reporter Sachelle Saunders was live in what Chief Meteorologist Tom Sorrells called a "wind tunnel" Friday morning in Daytona Beach Shores at Dunlawton Avenue and South Atlantic Avenue in front of the Pirate's Cove Hotel.
"You know, evaluating my life right here in front of this concrete block," Saunders said when Sorrells asked how she was. The power went out shortly after.
Power outages continued to fluctuate throughout Volusia County.
Residents in Holly Hill were asked to refrain from using the water until a main break could be found. Anyone with information about the leak should call 386-248-9475.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office’s Communications Center said it is receiving numerous calls reporting blown transformers catching fire and knocking out power, power lines down, arcing and sparking tree fires and downed trees and tree limbs blocking roadways.
The New Smyrna Beach Police Department has suspended police operations Friday morning due to high winds from Hurricane Matthew.
Meanwhile, bridges going from the mainland to the beachside in Volusia County are closed Friday due to strong winds from Hurricane Matthew. The westbound lanes on the bridges are open to vehicles leaving the beachside.
Once Hurricane Matthew clears clears the area, the Florida Department of Transportation and Volusia County will be inspecting bridges connected to the beaches for damage and consider reopening them.
On Thursday a mandatory curfew was put into effect until Saturday at 7 a.m.
"Law enforcement officers won't stop people from evacuating, but anyone caught loitering could be charged with a misdemeanor," officials said.
At least one man was arrested for violating curfew after deputies responded to an alarm Friday morning at a DeBary Winn Dixie. The 30-year-old man was seen earlier in the day and told to go home so he was taken into custody.
STORM SURGE: Water is spilling onto the boardwalk outside of the Daytona Beach Hilton. More info on Matthew's effects in Volusia --> http://bit.ly/2dLam26Posted by News 6 WKMG / ClickOrlando on Friday, October 7, 2016
The Volusia County Citizen Information Center is open and can be reached at 866-345-0345. Residents can also call United Way’s First Call for Help at 211 or 386-253-0564.
The city of DeLand also enacted a curfew from midnight Thursday to 7 a.m. Saturday.
Water levels were rising and waves were rough on Thursday afternoon at Volusia County beaches as Hurricane Matthew drew closer to Florida's east coast.
Volusia County emergency personnel urged residents to evacuate as Hurricane Matthew strengthened to a Category 4. Wednesday night, county leaders issued a mandatory evacuation for residents who live along the beaches, low-lying areas and mobile home parks.
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In addition, the Dunlawton Bridge in Port Orange closed to traffic at 10:30 p.m. Thursday.
The city of Port Orange also urged all residents east of Nova Road to evacuate to higher ground.
Coastal areas east of Nova Road could experience 11 feet of storm surge and 9 feet of standing water or more, officials said.
All Port Orange shelters were full as of Thursday night.
Volusia County Manager Jim Dinneen asked residents to devise a plan before the storm hit.
"First we were told that we were going to be fine, then I guess it turned, and yeah, there was something to worry about," Venita Minton said.
The Minton family spent Wednesday packing up so they can leave their hotel first thing in the morning.
"We just thought we'd head out for safety sake. We got little kids with us and one on the way and want to be safe," Minton said.
"I don't have experience with stuff like this, so I wouldn't say that I'm really prepared to wait around with no power for maybe three or four days, (and I have) no water either. I decided to go somewhere that I can really take care of myself," Thomas Chilian said.
Dinneen said if winds reach 40-45 mph, emergency vehicles will not be able to reach people in need.
At a news conference on Wednesday, officials said bridges from the mainland to the beach side will locked down at sundown Thursday.
Businesses and city offices have been working to prep for Hurricane Matthew before the storm arrives Friday.
"Making sure all the buildings are secure. All the parks are secure, playgrounds, lawn chairs and stuff that can blow around. All the banners and flags and light poles are sturdy," said Wayne Delan with Daytona Beach Shores Public Works.
County officials also declared it a state of emergency, canceling school for Thursday and Friday. Bethune-Cookman University also closed its campus.
Florida Hospital Oceanside evacuated 50 patients Wednesday morning, moving them to Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Ormond Beach.
The Orlando VA Medical Center is closing its Daytona Beach-based clinics Thursday through Saturday.
Veterans needing emergency medical services can visit the Orlando VAMC’s Urgent Care facility at 13800 Veterans Way in Lake Nona. The facility is open 24 hours, seven days a week. For more information, contact the Orlando VAMC Public Affairs office at 407-631-4436 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last of the cars allowed on Volusia beaches were forced off at 5 p.m. Tuesday until the storm passes.