Florida Gov. Rick Scott told citizens Tuesday in the path of Hurricane Matthew that they’ll need to batten down the hatches and prepare for the worst.
“We cannot expect anything less than a Category 4 at this time,” the Republican governor said during a press conference about what to expect as the storm rumbles through the state.
“We know that people have died from Matthew,” Scott said. “Please keep everyone in the path of this storm in your prayers. Matthew is a very slow moving storm which means there will be a lot of rain.”
He did not mince words.
“We all need to take this storm seriously. Don’t wait. We cannot rule out a direct hit on our state,” he said. “Wind strength is our biggest concern, regardless if the storm directly hits us.”
Scott directed 200 members of the Florida National Guard activated to support hurricane preparedness and response. He also directed an additional 300 staging across Southeast Florida on Wednesday.
“If you are on Florida’s east coast, you should know today where you will go if you have to evacuate,” Scott said. “… No one should take any risks. Many coastal counties are also preparing to open shelters within the next 24 hours if needed and contacting special needs populations. Again, if an evacuation is ordered for your area, leave immediately. First responders cannot rescue you once the storm hits.”
The hurricane is expected to hit Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina by the end of the week and into the weekend, according to Weather.com meteorologist Chris Dolce.
“Matthew could pass near or just off the Southeast coast late this week into the weekend. Even if the center of the hurricane does stay offshore, we would still have the potential for coastal flooding, beach erosion, battering surf, rain and gusty winds,” Dolce said in a tweet. “The magnitude of any of those impacts will depend on Matthew’s track and intensity at that time.”
National Hurricane Center has issued a Hurricane Watch from Golden Beach to the Volusia/Brevard county line, while a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys northward to south of Deerfield Beach, including Lake Okeechobee.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal issued a State of Emergency declaration for 13 counties including Camden, Charlton, Brantley, Glynn, McIntosh and Wayne.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.