iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Hurricane Matthew brutalized the Southeast coast for four days before weakening and veering out over the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday, leaving a trail of devastation with at least 23 dead, over 1 million homes and businesses without power and billions of dollars in damage.
Matthew wreaked havoc in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia before it was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone on Sunday as it headed east over the Atlantic.
The death toll spans all five states: 10 people were killed in North Carolina, six died in Florida, four in Georgia, two in South Carolina and one in Virginia.
The storm brought winds of up to 100 mph, as much as 15 inches of rain and powerful storm surges of up to 9 feet to some areas.
Millions of people’s lives were disrupted, with the evacuation of more than 3 million coastal residents; the closing of hundreds of roads including parts of Interstate 95 — a major East Coast artery; the halting of Amtrak service in the Southeast; the cancellation of thousands of flights.
North Carolina is one of the last states affected by Matthew and one of the hardest-hit.
At least 10 deaths in the Tar Heel state have been attributed to the storm, and at least five people are missing, Gov. Pat McCrory said Monday morning.
More than 500,000 homes and businesses are without power, which the governor estimates affects more than 1 million people, or 10 percent of the state’s population.
McCrory said the greatest threat right now is flooding in areas away from the coast, which is expected to continue throughout the week.
There have been over 1,400 water rescues in North Carolina, a number expected to rise, the governor said. On Sunday, eight people stranded on rooftops by rising floodwaters were hoisted to safety by a Coast Guard helicopter rescue team.
Initial estimates are that Matthew has caused insured losses of $4 billion to $6 billion, according to CoreLogic, but this preliminary number likely underestimates the storm’s total impact. Experts say that Matthew could be the costliest storm to hit the United States since Superstorm Sandy in 2012, which had an estimated $68 billion in damages.
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