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Hurricane Matthew batters Central Florida

At least 4 deaths connected to storm statewide

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Officials in Florida cut off all access to beachside portions of Flagler County after Hurricane Matthew washed away a part of State Road A1A.

A news release says emergency workers would begin entering the area to rescue those who did not leave.

"No one will be permitted to enter the barrier island," said Flagler County public safety Emergency Manager Steve Garten, in the release. "This will be enforced by the Flagler County Sheriff's Office."

A curfew began at 7 p.m. Friday on the mainland portions of the county.

"We don't want anyone on the beachside who doesn't need to be there," Flagler County Administrator Craig Coffey said in the release. "We need to be able to get (in and) assist those people who are in the most need."

More than 1.1 million people are now without power in Florida after Hurricane Matthew steadily ground its way up the East Coast.

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The Flagler Causeway remained closed throughout Friday night, meaning people were still unable to return to their homes. Vivian Dowd was on the beachside and rode out the storm in a hotel. She watched as the water reached her front door. 

“Truthfully, we were ready for the water to come in — really rush in, because the only thing that really stopped it was simple things like this curb was pushing it back," Dowd said.

Hurricane Matthew pushed in the surf so far that parts of the northbound side of State Road A1A were washed away, leaving huge gaps in the road. 

“(It was) something really really strong,” Dowd said. “The waves, if you looked out of this window, they were just up in the air — way up.”

Rob and Betsy Tier said they've lived on the beach for seven years and experienced several other hurricanes, but this time, Matthew made them nervous.

“We knew it was supposed to be a Category 4, and there was (a) rumor (it could be a) Category 5, and we already dug in and couldn't get out," Betsy Tier said.

The Tiers said it wasn't until 10 a.m. Friday that they lost power. 

“We decided, you know what, this is our home,” Rob Tier said. “We’re gonna stay here. And we boarded it all up, and it looks, well, it looks like Fort Knox.”

Officials said it was too dangerous to open the causeway Friday night.

Volusia bridges reopen

Meanwhile, emergency officials on Saturday reopened several bridges in Volusia County.

● Ormond Beach: Granada Bridge opened at 7 a.m.

● Daytona Beach: Seabreeze, Main Street, International Speedway Boulevard opened at 7 a.m. Residents must show a valid identification for access. Daytona Beach Police Department officers will use discretion in allowing access to others who need to get into the area, including people going to work and those checking on relatives.

● Port Orange: Dunlawton Bridge opened at 7 a.m.

In addition, Volusia County’s beaches are under a double red flag, which means water activities are prohibited.

"People should not be going into the water," officials said. "The surf is still very dangerous, with the rough surf conditions and a lot of debris in the water. There can be large and dangerous debris in the water right now."

The county released the following hotline numbers for residents who need assistance:

  • Daytona Beach: 386-671-5555
  • DeLand: 386-626-7000
  • Deltona: 386-878-8100
  • Edgewater: 386-424-2400
  • New Smyrna Beach: 386-424-2113 or 386-424-2114
  • Port Orange: 386-506-5999
  • United Way First Call for Help: 2-1-1 or 386-253-0564
  • Volusia County Citizens Information Center: 866-345-0345
  • FEMA Assistance: Residents who have damage from Hurricane Matthew are encouraged to apply for FEMA assistance as soon as possible. Registration can be done by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or going to www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

Widespread power outages

State officials released updated totals late Friday that showed the powerful storm had knocked out electricity over a long coastal stretch of the peninsula. One of the hardest hit areas is Volusia County, where nearly 258,000 customers -- 92 percent of all customers -- were without power.

Nearly 200,000 people in Brevard County, the home to Cape Canaveral, were also without power, along with nearly 132,000 customers in the Jacksonville area.

But the fury of the storm was strong enough that it has also caused outages in Central Florida. Nearly 150,000 customers who live in the Orlando area are without electricity.

Deaths related to storm

Authorities say two people died in Central Florida because of Hurricane Matthew. 

The Putnam County Sheriff's Office reported Friday that a woman was killed and a man was injured near Crescent City when a tree fell on their camper during the storm.

A post on the Sheriff's Office Facebook page said the two adults were attempting to ride out the storm when high winds apparently caused the tree to fall. The man escaped with minor injuries, but the woman was killed.

Earlier Friday, a 63-year-old Volusia County woman was killed when she was struck by a falling tree, officials said.

According to county officials, Susan Mathes, of DeLand, went outside to feed her animals during a lull in the storm and was struck by the tree.

Two others died in South Florida, officials say.

More than 300 people were killed in the Caribbean as a result of the hurricane, mostly in Haiti.