Hurricane Matthew, carrying winds of 195km/h, has lashed central Florida, hugging the Atlantic coast as it moves north and threatens more destruction after killing more than 500 people and leaving thousands homeless in Haiti.
Water had breached seawalls along the Northeast Florida coast.
We'll keep updating this post throughout the day. A tropical storm warning has been hoisted north of that to include the Outer Banks of North Carolina, as well as Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.
Forecasters expect Matthew to stick close to the coast of Georgia and SC over the weekend before veering out to sea - perhaps even looping back toward Florida in the middle of next week as a tropical storm.
Nearly 600 people are known to have died following the Caribbean's most powerful storm in a decade.
Mandatory evacuations are also underway in Georgia and SC where the hurricane is expected to hug the coasts of those states this weekend.
The Associated Press reports that most deaths have come from falling debris from the winds that tore through the area at 145 miles per hour on Tuesday. Such flooding was reported in coastal Florida communities including Daytona Beach and St Augustine on Friday.
Matthew, now a Category 1 storm, will continue to produce high winds and heavy rainfall and risky storm surge, the National Weather Service said, adding that a high risk of flash flooding was possible along the coast from northern Florida through SC through Saturday.
An elderly St. Lucie County couple died from carbon monoxide fumes while running a generator in their garage and two women who were killed in separate events when trees fell on a home and a camper.
Nevertheless, the hurricane remains of grave concern.
"Again, we could not go because that's when the winds were high", Chaney said. The most important threat comes from storm surges, which have been predicted to be as high as 12 feet that can lead to destructive and life-threatening conditions. Video recorded by journalist Robert Ray showed metallic, foil-like debris and other small objects rolling down one of the streets in the city. Georgia and SC had also opened dozens of shelters for evacuees. Deal has activated 2,000 National Guard troops. The storm was moving northeast at 12 miles per hour as a Category 1 hurricane.
In Beaufort County a curfew will be in effect from dusk Friday through dawn on Saturday. The three states are witnessing major power outages.