ATLANTA — Hurricane Matthew is no longer a hurricane: It was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone around 5 a.m. on Sunday as it made an eastward turn and began to move out into the Atlantic at 14 mph.
The post-tropical storm Matthew has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.
Despite the downgrade, Severe Weather Team 2 meteorologist Katie Walls says, "Record-breaking flooding continues over portions of eastern North Carolina, where up to 20 inches have fallen. Parts of NE Florida and coastal Georgia are under a coastal flooding warning through Monday night as elevated water levels remain."
Matthew made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane in the Cape Romaine National Wildlife Refuge near McClellanville, South Carolina, around 10:45 a.m. Saturday.
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Around the same time the National Hurricane Center announced that Matthew had been downgraded, the North Carolina Office of Emergency Management confirmed a fifth death in Pitt County overnight due to weather, bringing the U.S. death toll from Matthew to 15.
The state-by-state death toll so far is: North Carolina, 7 deaths; Georgia, 3 deaths; and Florida, 4 deaths.
As of late Saturday, there were also four people missing in Cumberland County in North Carolina.
Dangerous Combination of Winds, Rain and Storm Surge
Storm surges that could cause flooding have been a concern up and down the coast.
The National Weather Service measured a record tide level of more than 12 feet at the mouth of the Savannah River, which borders both South and North Carolina.
Forecasters warned that the combination of a dangerous storm surge, the tide and large waves could cause rising waters to move inland from the shoreline to flood normally dry areas near the coast.
On Saturday, Charleston County Emergency Medical Services in South Carolina suspended its service countywide, warning that high-span or exposed bridges are unsafe for public travel due to high winds.
A curfew was implemented in Charleston between Saturday 8 p.m. through Sunday 8 a.m.
Nearly 17 inches of rain were recorded at Hunter U.S. Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia over a 48-hour period, according to the National Hurricane Center.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said Friday, "Many of these areas have not had this level of flooding since, like, the late 1800s."
Georgia Power crews have re-entered Coastal Georgia and nearly 5,000 personnel including assisting utilities are working to restore power following Hurricane Matthew. Crews are navigating extensive damage, including flooding and roads blocked by downed trees.
Power has been restored to more than 100,000 customers following the Hurricane. Crews are working to help the remaining residents.
Cox Media Group