Tybee Island appeared to bear the brunt of the storm in Georgia. Matthew neared the coast there soon after high tide and a storm surge flooded the low-lying barrier island.
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter riding out the storm on the north end of the island had to take shelter in a second floor bathroom as water climbed to at least 18 inches on the ground level.
At dawn, after hours of punishing rain and 100-mph-plus winds, the stormy dawn offered up a scarred and tattered Tybee.
Downed pines, oaks and palms blocked trees recently drained of rain measured in feet. Huge logs lay across U.S. 80 flung by the winds from the nearby marshes.
While some of the flooding had receded, many roads, particularly on the southeast end, remained flooded and impassable by 9am.
The damage along Butler avenue, the main drag bisecting Tybee, was extensive. Aluminum siding, roof shingles, porch fans and fencing turned it into a 10 mph obstacle course. Roofs were peeled away. The cheery awning for the Sunrise Diner flapped untethered in the still gusty wind.
Tybee has been cut off from the mainland since Friday night.
On St. Simon’s Island, Matthew knocked out power, sent trees crashing down on houses and roads. Parking lots and yards were flooded. Frederica Road near the air strip is covered with fallen trees. The village appears mostly unscathed. Glynn County officials are planning to give an update about the hurricane’s aftermath at a noon news conference.
Thousands of Georgians had evacuated their homes in advance of Matthew’s arrival.Georgia hasn’t had a direct strike from a hurricane in more than a hurricane in more than a century.
Stay tuned to ajc.com for updates.