Hurricane Matthew Timeline

Sunday, Sept. 25:
Tropical weather is detected southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.

Wednesday, Sept. 28:
Tropical Storm Matthew forms in the Windward Islands in the Caribbean Sea. 

Thursday, Sept. 29:
Matthew strengthens to a hurricane with 75 mph winds and continues its path toward the central Caribbean Sea. 

Friday, Sept. 30:
Matthew breaks into a new day as a Category 2 hurricane. By the end of the day, it is a powerful Category 4 storm with 140 mph sustained winds. Later that night, it briefly turns into a Category 5 storm. 

Saturday, Oct. 1:
By 11 p.m., Jamaica and Haiti are under a hurricane warning as Matthew swirls as a Category 4 storm packing winds of at least 140 mph about 350 miles southwest of Port Au Prince, Haiti.

Hurricane Matthew05Sunday, Oct. 2:
The Bahamas issue a hurricane warning. 

Tuesday, Oct. 4:
At 7 a.m., Category 4 Matthew makes landfall near Les Anglais, Haiti, drenching the country with powerful 145 mph sustained winds. It is later reported that more than 1,000 people are killed there. 

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announces that coastal South Carolina counties will be under an evacuation order as of 3 p.m. the following day. Long lines form at local gas stations, while hurricane and tropical storm warnings are issues for parts of Florida. As of 11 p.m., Matthew is still a Category 4 hurricane and is located 20 miles northwest of the eastern tip of Cuba. 

Wednesday, Oct. 5:
Beaufort County Schools close. The National Guard arrives in Beaufort County to assist with an orderly 3 p.m. evacuation. 

Businesses start to close as residents evacuate Hilton Head Island and Bluffton. Shelters open and a hurricane watch is issued for the Lowcountry. Matthew is lowered to a Category 3 storm. 

Walt Disney World in Orland closes for the fourth time since its opening in 1971.

By 11 p.m., Hurricane Matthew is 325 miles southeast of West Palm Beach, Florida. 

Thursday, Oct. 6:
Residents continue to evacuate Hilton Head Island and Bluffton. 

Matthew strengthens back to a Category 4 storm and coastal areas from Boca Raton, Florida, to Santee River are under a hurricane warning. By 8 p.m., Matthew is about 125 miles offshore from West Palm Beach.

Friday, Oct. 7:
The eyewall of Category 3 Hurricane Matthew hugs the Florida coast. Downtown Savannah reports flooding. A curfew from 7 p.m.-7 a.m. goes into effect for Beaufort County. Rain starts in the morning, and tropical storm-like weather picks up in the afternoon. 

As Lowcountry residents evacuate the area, Hilton Head, Coastal Carolina and Beaufort Memorial hospitals’ emergency rooms close, and Hilton Head Island emergency services cease and first responders are evacuated.

8 a.m.: The storm is located 45 miles northeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 

11 a.m.: Hurricane warnings are extended to North Carolina. The storm is located 35 northeast off Daytona Beach, Florida. Hilton Head Fire Rescue finish evacuating from Hilton Head Island. 

5 p.m.: The storm is 40 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida. Sustained winds are 110 mph. 

8 p.m.:  The storm is 105 miles southeast of Savannah. 

11 p.m.: The storm is 70 miles southeast of Savannah. 

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Saturday, Oct. 8:
As the storm passes, Beaufort County officials encourage residents to stay indoors as they assess the damage. Trees and power lines block roadways and damage some structures while flooding is reported. Between 11 to 14 inches of rain are dumped on Beaufort County.  

4 a.m.: Residents begin losing power. Hurricane-force winds snap trees, and heavy rains and storm surge flood streets. 

5 a.m.: The eyewall is 20 miles southeast of Hilton Head Island as a Category 2 storm, with sustained winds of 105 mph. Later that morning, teams begin to enter Hilton Head Island and Bluffton to assess the damage and start clearing essential roads. 

11 a.m.: The eyewall makes landfall southeast of McClellanville as a Category 1 hurricane. 

5 p.m.: The storm is located 15 miles southwest of Cape Fear, North Carolina. Later that day, record-breaking flooding begins to develop in eastern North Carolina as the storm is downgraded. 

Sunday, Oct. 9:
Cleanup and utility restoration gets underway in earnest in Beaufort County. 

Matthew begins to churn out to sea. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issues its last advisory at 5 p.m., when the storm is reported 200 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Major storm surge flooding inundates North Carolina. 

The Red Cross opens up two shelters, one in northern Beaufort County and the other at Bluffton High School for those waiting at checkpoints outside Beaufort County.

At 6:30 p.m., Haley lifts the evacuation order for Beaufort County but many areas, including all of Hilton Head Island and parts of Bluffton, are restricted for safety reasons. Residents are urged to stay put for another day. 

Monday, Oct. 10:
The evacuation order is lifted for the town of Bluffton. Cleanup and utility restoration efforts continue. 

The Hilton Head Hospital ER opens, as does the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport.

Tuesday, Oct. 11
Coastal Carolina Hospital reopens at full capacity. Hilton Head Hospital opens more facilities on its campus.

Officials report that 39 people in the U.S. have died from Hurricane Matthew; the majority, 20, are in North Carolina.

3 p.m.: The evacuation order is lifted for Hilton Head Island, although some neighborhoods are restricted. Many areas are without power and water, and all of Hilton Head is under a boil water advisory. 

Beaufort County Schools announce schools will reopen Monday, Oct. 17.

Beaufort County, Bluffton and Hilton Head open up the emergency building permitting progress for those needing to repair and rebuild homes and businesses. 

Wednesday, Oct. 12: 
Hurricane Matthew08President Barack Obama declares Beaufort County and other coastal South Carolina counties a federal disaster area, opening up aid for governments and certain nonprofit groups to help with cleanup and recovery efforts. 

The S.C. Department of Insurance holds a catastrophe claims center at the Bluffton Home Depot. 

With the exception of a few pockets, power on Hilton Head Island is fully restored.

Thursday, Oct. 13: 
The S.C. Department of Insurance holds a catastrophe claims center at the Bluffton Home Depot. 

Two out of three Hilton Head Island Public Service District boil advisories are lifted. 

Friday, Oct. 14:
The last of the boil water advisories are lifted on Hilton Head. 

Sunday, Oct. 16
Bluffton Strong: Food & Fellowship After Matthew is held in Oscar Frazier Community Park.

Tuesday, Oct. 17:  
FEMA announces individual aid, allowing individuals, nonprofit groups and businesses to apply for low-interest loans and assistance, which helps those in need with temporary rental assistance, essential home repairs and other programs. 

Hilton Head Island announces that it will provide a penalty grace period for accommodation tax and beach preservation fee payments through midnight Nov. 18.

Wednesday, Oct. 18 to the present
Debris removal and repairs continue. 

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NOAA, National Geographic, National Weather Service, Beaufort County Sherriff’s Office Towns of Bluffton and Hilton Head Island, S.C. Department of Emergency Management, Office of Gov. Nikki Haley