Hurricane Matthew, the Category 4 hurricane responsible for widespread damage to life and property in the northwest Bahamas, is heading towards the east coast of Florida.
Extremely strong winds, heavy rains, and flooding are expected to strike the area from Georgia and South Carolina by the weekend. Florida’s east coast has already started experiencing tropical storm force winds, with the Palm Beach International Airport experiencing gusts as high as 50 miles per hour.
Hurricane Matthew: Widespread damage brought by severe weather
At least 122 people were killed and 91 injured in Haiti as a result of severe weather, the director of Haiti’s Department of Civil Protection said. Two people have been reported missing. At least 350,000 are in need of immediate assistance. In Cuba, more than 377,000 people were forced to evacuate, the United Nations said. Dangerous winds, massive flooding and powerful storm surge have been reported.
According to Weather.com, the last time a Category 4 hurricane made landfall in northeast Florida or the Georgia coast was in 1898.
With outer bands of the storm pounding Florida on Thursday, forecasters in Jacksonville said a “worst case storm surge scenario” was possible and that “if a direct impact occurs this will be unlike any hurricane in the modern era.” As many as 15 inches of rainfall is expected in some areas. The coast from central Florida to Georgia could experience a storm surge of up to 11 feet.
“This storm will kill you,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said at a news conference. He urged residents to evacuate ahead of the hurricane and the potential damage it will cause, ABC News reports. “This is life and death,” Scott said.
Hurricane Matthew: ‘This storm will kill you,’ warns Gov Rick Scott
In addition to the east coast of Florida north of Boca Raton and the northwest Bahamas, hurricane warnings have also been issued for areas including Orlando, Jacksonville (which until now had not been issued a hurricane warning in 17 years), Florida, Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina.
Meanwhile, a tropical storm warning remains for areas north of the South Santee River, South Carolina, to Surf City, North Carolina. The areas from Ocean Reef to south of Boca Raton, Florida, along the Florida Keys and Seven Mile Bridge, and Florida Bay and, on the west coast of Florida, from the Anclotte River in Pasco County to the Suwannee River, have been issued a tropical storm warning.
States of emergency have been declared in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) October 6, 2016
— Antigua Met Service (@anumetservice) September 29, 2016
4:20am ET: Buoy 42058 Winds rebounding quickly in the southern eyewall. #Matthew
Min pressure from the eye pass: 942.8mb. pic.twitter.com/hLGBauhulR
— Jonathan ⚡☔ (@JonathanBelles) October 3, 2016
— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) October 4, 2016