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Flooding in northeast Florida as Hurricane Matthew approaches Georgia

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Flooding in northeast Florida as Hurricane Matthew approaches Georgia

While Hurricane Matthew has caused widespread flood and winddamage along Florida's eastern coast, it has not made landfall and may begin toweaken Oct. 8.

The storm is sustaining winds near 110 mph with highergusts, making it a Category 3 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center wrote ina 5 p.m. ET Oct. 7 advisorynotice.

Storm surges have caused significant flooding in Jacksonvilleand St. Augustine, Fla.

"We have been very fortunate that Matthew's category 3winds have remained a short distance offshore [off] the Florida Coast thus far,but this should not be a reason to let down our guard," the center wrote.The storm's intensity is expected to weaken over the next 48 hours, but it willlikely remain a hurricane until it moves away from the U.S. coast, which isexpected Oct. 9.

The storm is forecast to move "near or over" thecoast of northeast Florida and the Georgia coast during the night of Oct. 7.Hurricane warnings have been issued north to Surf City, N.C. A hurricane watchextends farther, to Cape Lookout, N.C.

Rainfall could total eight to 12 inches of rain, with someareas receiving up to 15 inches, across the Atlantic coast, the NHC wrote.

A total of 691,030 customers were without power in Floridaas of 3 p.m. ET Oct. 7, with about 4.8 million people in total affected by theoutages, according to Florida Power & Light Co.

A total industry loss below $30 billion would not have amaterial impact on the market, Gary Marchitello, head of property broking atWillis Towers Watson, said in an emailed statement. Hitting that figure appears"less likely," he wrote.

If the insured loss breaks $10 billion, Fitch Ratings wrote Oct.7, more of the losses would be absorbed by reinsurers rather than primarycompanies.

Matthew devastated parts of Haiti earlier in the week. Thestorm claimed 842 lives there and has left "tens of thousands"without homes, Reuters reported Oct. 7.