Deadly hurricane marches toward Florida

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MIAMI, Florida Update 9 p.m.

Officials say winds are picking up and thousands are without power in Florida as Hurricane Matthew approaches.

The National Hurricane Center says the eye of Matthew is northwest of Grand Bahama Island, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida, and a wind gust of 50 mph (80 kph) has been recorded at Palm Beach International Airport.

Florida Power and Light says more than 30,000 customers - about 24,000 in Palm Beach County alone - are already without electricity.

Matthew is still a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (210 kph). It is moving northwest at 13 mph (20 kph).

The storm has already proven deadly, with 283 confirmed deaths in Haiti. The coordinator for Haiti's Interior Ministry in the area hit hardest by Hurricane Matthew says he expects the toll to rise as authorities reach remote places that were left isolated by the storm.

Bodies have started to appear as waters recede in some areas two days after Matthew smashed concrete walls, flattened palm trees and tore roofs off homes.

Original story:

The most powerful storm to threaten the U.S. Atlantic coast in more than a decade approached the eastern coast of Florida with 130 mph sustained winds Thursday night.

Hurricane Matthew left more than 100 dead in its wake across the Caribbean, and 2 million people across the Southeast have been warned to flee inland.

The Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency says authorities have rescued at least 30 people who were trapped in their homes by floodwaters from Hurricane Matthew on the island of New Providence. There were also four people killed in the neighboring Dominican Republic, one in Colombia and one in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

At 8 p.m. EDT, the storm had weakened slightly and had 130 mph (210 kph) sustained winds, down from 140 mph (225 kph). Matthew is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach, Florida.

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