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NHC downgrades Matthew to Category 1 hurricane

While Hurricane Matthew was raking Florida's east coast with strong winds and powerful storms, its effects are being felt clear across the state.

High winds in Cape Canaveral ripped the roof off a home. As it continued north, a storm surge of 7 to 11 feet were possible.

With a guarantee of heavy rain extending beyond the coast into the midlands of SC, state officials continue to monitor the structural integrity of dam systems throughout the state.

Bodies started to appear as waters receded in some places two days after Matthew's 145 miles per hour winds smashed concrete walls, flattened palm trees and tore roofs off homes, forcing thousands of Haitians to flee. The National Weather Service issued a warning for parts of Nassau County, north of Jacksonville.

Meteorologists said storm surge had been measured at more than 4 feet in some areas.

Hurricane Matthew has impacted several countries in the Caribbean and has also skirted the Florida coastline.

Matthew was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday by the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Property data firm CoreLogic projected the storm would cause $4 billion to $6 billion in insured losses on home and commercial properties.

By Saturday midday, it could possibly make landfall or skim by Charleston, South Carolina with winds roughly around 100 miles per hour.

The biggest threat for North Florida's waterfront - as well as for the Georgia islands and low-lying SC coast in its path - was the rising ocean, which was being pushed inland by the still powerful Category 2 storm. Officials warned the state's worst damage could come further north.

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With Hurricane Matthew closing in on the United States, several in-state college football games could be impacted by the storm. We've been tracking this storm since Tuesday, been in constant communication with the Southeastern Conference since Tuesday.

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"If you're hoping it's is just going to pass far enough offshore that this isn't a problem anymore - that is a very, very big mistake that you could make that could cost you your life", he said.

While the wind's howling "sounded like a pack of wolves", he said, "I got off damn good".

Portions of the coast already have recorded 100 miles per hour winds near Cape Canaveral, and storm surges of 10 feet still are possible for Jacksonville later Friday, Gov. Rick Scott said. The storm is projecting hurricane-force winds 25 miles away from its center.

Scott reported Friday morning that almost 600,000 customers were without power throughout Florida.

"Four people are missing, 211 are injured and more than 60,000 people are now displaced from the killer storm", he said.

The country's Civil Protection Agency said the death toll was still at almost 300, but officials conceded it was likely higher because the central government had not received totals from much of the Grand Anse region because communications were still largely down across the rural and mountainous area. Those included the cities of Orlando and Daytona Beach.

A direct hit by Matthew, Scott said earlier in the week, could lead to "massive destruction" on a level unseen since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Obama declared states of emergency in Florida, Georgia and SC, a move that authorized federal agencies to coordinate disaster relief efforts.

The Florida city of Jacksonville could face significant flooding, Florida Governor Rick Scott said. The storm downed power lines and trees and destroyed billboards in Cape Canaveral, he said. In some of the counties that the storm has passed, it appeared that evacuations urged by local officials worked, he said. As the Category 3 storm continues to wreak havoc, here is a closer look at the areas it will impact, the crisis and disaster management resources available in some of these areas and the probable track of some recent tropical storms.

At least 12 people died in his town, and Ais said he expected the number to increase. The Weather Channel reported a tornado warning for coastal SC and Georgia from about 3pm ET until midnight.

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