JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Live Surfline.com camera from the Jacksonville Beach.
(CNN) — Hurricane Matthew stalked Florida’s east coast Friday morning, battering the Cape Canaveral area with fierce winds and threatening the state with life-threatening storm surges even though the powerful eyewall — for now — remained at sea.
The biggest questions remained as the sun rose: Will the storm make landfall? If so, where?
Matthew — a Category 3 storm with winds of 120 mph at the center — is teetering parallel to the peninsula and heading north-northwest, but still pounding Florida’s east-central coast with dangerous winds and heavy rain. Cape Canaveral recorded a 107 mph gust before 7 a.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said.
Weather experts were watching for the slightest change in Matthew’s unpredictable path, which they say could make an enormous difference to the hurricane’s impact on land.
“The exact path is so critical,” said CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam. “Miles and kilometers really count, because if it wobbles westward by say 30 miles, it brings those strong winds onshore.”
More than 476,000 Florida Power & Light customers were without power Friday morning. The downpour, storm surge and extreme winds are expected to hit central and northern sections of the Florida coast, including communities such as Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, according to the hurricane center.