Residents of Florida's Cape Canaveral braced for the worst as Hurricane Matthew made its way along the Atlantic, with models predicting a direct hit to the region. By early Friday morning, locals of the Brevard County area had been informed by the National Weather Service to prepare for damaging, high winds and storm surges. But luckily, as residents emerged from their homes early Friday afternoon, the effects of Hurricane Matthew on Cape Canaveral appeared to have been minimal.
Predictions for damage to the region far outweighed the actual impact, with the western eyewall of the hurricane only brushing past Cape Canaveral. Thankfully, the predicted direct hit never occurred. Reports indicate that at the storm's worst, the region experienced sustained winds at 90 mph, with the largest gusts climbing to 107 mph. While these wind speeds are certainly high for the region, they didn't outmatch the 120 to 130 mph felt in areas directly along the coast.
A resident of Cape Canaveral, with a home just blocks away from the local beach, told ABC News that the damage was minimal to his home. Though downed trees lined his property, his home and vehicles appeared undamaged during first inspection. Overall, he said he was just "glad we didn't hear the ocean coming down our street."
Officials also feared the worst for NASA's Kennedy Space Center, which is located in Cape Canaveral. Luckily, the eye of the storm passed some 26 miles away from the center. Apart from a few power outages, the damage to the center has been minimal.
Reports indicate that there was limited roof damage and debris around the facility, but all of the center's equipment — such as launch pads and its assembly building — were constructed to withstand wind speeds of 130 to 135 mph. The wind around the Kennedy Space Center hit an average of 90 mph, so the facility managed to escape the feared level of damage. A full assessment of the damage will be conducted on Saturday morning, when winds are expected to have died down enough to allow crews to inspect the center.
Moving on from Cape Canaveral, the storm was expected to pass through Georgia and South Carolina. Officials warned residents that time was running out for a safe evacuation, as the areas were likely to be harder hit than the Brevard County region.