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Hurricane Matthew churns off Georgia, South Carolina coasts

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Of the reported fatalities, two people in Florida were killed by falling trees and an elderly couple died of carbon monoxide poisoning inhaled from a generator while sheltering from the storm inside a garage.

Matthew tracked up the SC coast early Saturday morning as a category 2 storm near Hilton Head Island before weakening to a category 1 storm prior making landfall southeast of McLellanville in Charleston County. At one point it reached the strongest Category 5 designation, but it weakened as it moved closer to Florida. One 50-year-old Florida woman is the first casualty of Hurricane Matthew in the USA today.

Spokesman George Diller says NASA's Kennedy Space Center has been spared major damage.

The U.S. has committed $16 billion to recovery efforts that are being led by USAID and the Pentagon, according to the White House. Florida airports had canceled hundreds of flights, majority in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

Matthew crashed ashore on Haiti's southern coast on Tuesday as a monster Category 4 storm, packing 145 mile (230 km) winds. The National Guard will conduct assessments in South Florida. Once they complete any recovery missions, they will join the troops deployed in Central and North Florida.

It also hit Myrtle Beach in SC and Wilmington, North Carolina. We won't be sending them home. "Our goal is to keep solving problems".

St. Augustine resident Michael Charles, 64, was also riding out the storm and said the biggest issue was rising water.

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Florida faced the most unsafe storm in living memory as Hurricane Matthew moved in from the Atlantic, threatening coastal cities with surging tides, torrential rain and 130 mile-an-hour winds.

Matthew was approaching the cities of Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia with sustained winds of 105 miles per hour (165 km/h) early on Saturday.

The city of Charleston, S.C., announced a midnight-to-6 a.m. curfew, around the time the coast was expected to take the brunt of the storm.

President Barrack Obama issued a stark warning, saying: "I just want to emphasise to everybody that this is still a really risky hurricane, that the potential for storm surge, loss of life and severe property damage exists".

The NHC's hurricane warning extended up the Atlantic coast from southern Florida through Georgia and into SC.

Meanwhile, the magnitude of the devastation inflicted by Matthew as it roared through the Caribbean became ever clearer, with officials in Haiti raising the death toll there to almost 300, while also cautioning that there were scores of bodies that had yet to be recorded.

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