Savannah, Brunswick begin surveying damage after Hurricane Matthew

Strong winds, dangerous flooding in S.C., Ga.

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Cities along Georgia's coasts were virtual ghost towns as they awaited the arrival of Hurricane Matthew. 

Now, with the storm behind them and the light of day returned, residents and businesses are out surveying the damage left in the storms path.

Before the now Category 1 storm passed through, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal ordered mandatory evacuations for six counties along the coast earlier in the week. Many took heed. On Saturday, he and officials gave an update on their plans for the response to the storm's aftermath.

A Savannah police office told 11Alive StormTracker Samantha Mohr that about 90 percent of residents east of I-95 had evacuated.

PHOTOS: Savannah, Brunswick are ghost towns 

LIVE | Hurricane Matthew Interactive Coverage

Some residents boarded buses at the Savannah Civic Center headed for inland Georgia and South Carolina, while others sought refuge at downtown hotels. 

At some businesses, the lights were on but no one was home. Windows were boarded up and sandbags were left behind to hopefully bear the brunt of the storm. 

Over in Brunswick, much of the same nothingness was seen. 11Alive's Duffie Dixon reported that there was no gas to be found. Stores were closed, pumps were taped off and the handles to the nozzles were zip-tied. Earlier in the week, proceedings in the hot car death trial of Ross Harris were canceled due to the expected storm. 


An overnight curfew kept people off the streets during the height of the hurricane, but those residents that did stay told 11Alive they were scared. "When I saw the wind, I grabbed my old man," Diana Moran said. "I was just terrified. I was terrified." 

At daylight, many ventured out and got a glimpse at what the damage was like.

"The tree is out of the ground there," said Charles Sheffield, who rode out the storm. "That tree fell over the power lines. It seemed like it came close but it skipped over a bit."

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for the Georgia coast, which allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide federal assistance. The Georgia National Guard has activated 365 soldiers and airmen to support local efforts in facilitating security, traffic control and other storm-related needs. 

Resources: Information on shelters from GEMHSA

Over in Florida, it was a rare sight as Disney World closed its doors in advance of the storm.

PHOTOS: Disney closes Orlando parks in path of Hurricane Matthew 

PHOTOS: Damage on the Space Coast from Hurricane Matthew 


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