As the eye of Hurricane Matthew bore into Jacksonville Beach Friday at 6 p.m., Gov. Rick Scott spoke to emergency managers in Volusia County and repeated a refrain:"unfortunately, it's going to continue throughout the night."
With flash floods swamping the Old City of St. Augustine, and Jacksonville Mayor
issuing an expanded evacuation order, the governor's sober warnings continued.
"We are very concerned about storm surge and there is potential for significant flooding in Jacksonville today,'' Scott said. "Flooding in this area could potentially last for days and river flooding could last even longer."
Curry told CNN late Friday that the storm surge is at record levels for the city.
State officials said that the coastal northeast was expected to get hammered with nine feet of water. The region has already seen more than six inches of rain and another three or four inches is expected.
The national weather service has told state officials that that storm will leave Florida about 2 a.m. Saturday but to expect it back as a tropical depression over the Bahamas Sunday night.
Scott said the immediate concern was for Jacksonville, but he offered few details.
Emergency Management System Director Bryan Koon warned that demands on first responders could be “worse than last night, because there’s water on top of the wind issues.”
Scott said that water managers were working to get pumps into Jacksonville to help to push the water out once the storm leaves.
"However, it's very difficult to do anything right now while we're still seeing the impacts of the storm,'' he said.
A section of A1A has been washed out in Flagler County. Many bridges are closed in Duval, Nassau, St. John’s and Indian River counties. Sixty five state parks remain closed, although the number is diminishing.
State officials said they have 1.6 million meals are ready to be distributed over the next four days, along with a request to FEMA of baby food and supplies for 2,000 babies.
The governor said damage assessments are happening in South Florida and Central Florida and will continue into the weekend.
The Florida Department of Transportation is working with local officials to expedite bridge assessments to officials Brevard County north to start opening bridges "so people can get back to their communities"
Scott said that the Florid Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is conducting search and rescue operation and "they've not reported any issues yet."
The state has opened more than 180 shelters that are now housing 23,000 people.