Past Hurricanes / Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew was a category 5 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) that later made landfalls as a major hurricane along the coasts of southwestern Haiti, extreme eastern Cuba, and western Grand Bahama Island, and as a category 1 hurricane along the central coast of South Carolina. Matthew was responsible for 585 direct deaths, with more than 500 deaths occurring in Haiti, making it the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Stan in 2005. Matthew reached category 5 intensity at the lowest latitude ever recorded in the Atlantic Basin, and thankfully did not cause any fatalities in Brevard County.


Monday, October 3

  • Brevard County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activated to a Level 3 – Enhanced Monitoring in anticipation of impacts from Hurricane Matthew.
  • Emergency Management discussed contingency plans and options with local, regional, and state partners.

Tuesday, October 4

  • EOC activated to a Level 2 – Partial Activation with specific Emergency Support Functions.
  • Local State of Emergency was signed by Chair of the Brevard County Commission, Commissioner Barfield.
  • EOC staff coordinated with partners, held multiple meetings with county leadership, municipalities, and sheltering partners to narrow down our operational scenario.
  • Policy Group decided to issue Mandatory Evacuation order, and announced to the public that it would be effective as of 3PM Wednesday, and shelters would open at that time, which provided 24+ hours to take necessary preparedness actions.

Wednesday, October 5

  • Emergency Management activated the Emergency Operations Center to a Level 1 – Full Activation with maximum staff and 24-hr operations.
  • School and government closures for Thursday and Friday were announced.
  • Mandatory evacuation order put into effect for the barrier islands (including Merritt Island), low-lying and flood-prone areas, and mobile/manufactured homes.
  • Shelters opened at 3PM, and locations were announced. This included 8 general population, 4 special needs, and 3 pet-friendly shelters.

Thursday, October 6

  • Evacuation completed.
  • Tropical storm-force winds arrived in the early evening hours.

Friday, October 7

  • FDOT engineers assessed and verified that the causeways were safe for travel.
  • Evacuation order lifted.

Saturday, October 8

Government offices were cleared to reopen.

Monday, October 10

  • Last shelter closed.
  • EOC moved to a Level 2 – Partial Activation for recovery operations.

Tuesday, October 11

Schools reopened.

Friday, October 21

EOC returned to a Level 3 – Enhanced Monitoring to support recovery operations.

Hurricane Matthew was forecast to be a glancing landfall, which meant the entire county would feel the impacts. At the time, it was believed to be a Category 4 Storm with 95-115 mph sustained winds, and 140 mph gusts. The storm surge warning included 5-8ft of surge, with amounts of 9-11ft possible in specific areas. In addition, 6-8 inches of rain were forecasted, with 8-12 inches possible in specific areas.

Hurricane Matthew by the Numbers

Debris Comparison

In 2004, the Hurricanes Charley, Francis, and Jeanne combined hat 1,045,235 cubic yards of debris, which was an average of 348,411 cubic yards per storm. In 2005, Hurricane Wilma created 58,364 cubic yards of debris.

By comparison, Hurricane Matthew created 820,777 cubic yards of debris! Debris from Hurricane Matthew would fill more than seven football fields just over 6 ft. high.

FEMA Assistance – Lessons Learned

In Brevard, many residents registered for assistance; however, just about 12% of applicants actually received FEMA funds. Of those that did, 96% received less than $6,600 – which is the average cost of a new roof. While the maximum amount of assistance per household that could be received is $33,000, no one in Brevard received that amount from Hurricane Matthew, there are some lessons learned for our residents about FEMA assistance:

  • FEMA does not reimburse for any food that goes bad as a result of power failure.
  • FEMA does not reimburse evacuation expenses unless your home was damaged, and then will only cover lodging expenses, NOT any food, gas or other costs.
  • FEMA assistance is rarely equal to replacement costs.
  • FEMA does not replace your roof.
  • FEMA will not pay your insurance deductible.
  • FEMA assistance is not fast, and will want copies of everything.

FEMA is NOT your insurance policy!