Hurricane Matthew is pushing northward, after sideswiping Florida's Atlantic coast early today.
Matthew toppled trees onto homes and knocked out power to more than 800,000 people. But the storm spared some of the most heavily populated stretches of shoreline the catastrophic blow many had feared.
The National Weather Service office in Melbourne reported wind gusts as strong as 107 miles an hour this morning.
The Brevard County Board of Commissioners urged residents to be patient as authorities assess the storm's impact, and warned that "resuming normalcy will take some time."
Despite a mandatory evacuation order for the 3,000 people who live on Tybee Island in Georgia, about 100 people have decided to ride out the storm.
Some of them on Friday had bellied up to the bar at Nickie's 1971, located about a block away from Georgia's largest beach.
Owner Calvin Ratterree says he's worried about the powerful storm that's already drenching parts of the Georgia coast with heavy rains. But he says a friend has a third-floor condo across the street that he and his dozen or so customers can flee to if necessary.
Steve Todd was having a drink at Ratterree's bar before lunch Friday. He said his wife and child evacuated, but he stayed to try to protect their home and belongings.
Island residents were ordered to evacuate Wednesday. Most left, some of them hitting the road at the last minute Friday.
Tybee Island councilman Monty Parks was out Friday morning offering rides to a few stragglers who wanted to leave but had no transportation to the mainland.
He said he was trying to make sure everyone got out, "but there are people that are diehards."
Parks estimated that 100 or more people were insisting on braving out the storm on the island.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says the forecast for the state appears to have gotten worse: There are now hurricane warnings for the entire coast and the latest projections from the National Hurricane Center show the center of the storm very close to the coast near Charleston early Saturday morning. Earlier projections had the hurricane farther offshore.
At a news conference Friday, Haley warned residents that South Carolina is now looking at major winds, major storm surges, and flooding that could compare to the historic floods of last October. Power outages are also expected.
Haley said an estimated 310,000 people have now fled from coastal areas and said "this is the last time you will hear my voice when I am asking you to evacuate." She said everybody along the coast needs to consider getting inland.
© 2017 Associated Press