With winds of 120 mph, Hurricane Matthew has hit the coast of Florida this Friday. The state had prepared for the hurricane. So there were mass evacuations and state-of-emergency preparations.
According to forecasts, Hurricane Matthew is the strongest storm system that hits the United States this decade. The hurricane wreaked havoc through the Caribbean. It left widespread destruction in its wake. So far, there are nearly 300 people dead in Haiti alone.
Hurricane Matthew Hits the Shoreline
The eye of the storm hit the shoreline in the United States south of Cape Canaveral. It brought pounding surf and storm surges. It’s possible that as much as a foot of rain fell in some areas.
A bulletin sent out by the National Weather Service warns that “this is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening situation”.
Early on Friday, the storm weakened somewhat. It went down to a Category 3 hurricane. But the winds were still at a dangerous 120 mph. Around 7 a.m., the western edge of the eyewall of the hurricane was close to Cape Canaveral. Hurricane Matthew was moving in a north-northwest direction at a speed of 14 mph.
The governor of the state of Florida, Rick Scott repeatedly asked residents to take the storm seriously. As part of the preparations for the hurricane, 1.5 million Floridians found themselves in evacuation zones. The governor strongly urged them to leave and not take any chances. Also, he used blunt terms to convey how dangerous the situation is. During a briefing on Thursday he underlined once more that the situation was serious. “This storm will kill you. Time is running out”, he said.
All across the southeastern coast, there were preparations for the looming storm under way. Authorities declared a state of emergency and gave orders for evacuation. Schools had to close down, flights were grounded and college football games were canceled or postponed.
Warning from the National Hurricane Center
As authorities stressed how dangerous the storm was, the National Hurricane Center was giving details about Hurricane Matthew. Bulletins talked about the impact to the state of Florida that could have disastrous consequences. Also, the National Hurricane Center warned about the flooding that was going to happen in the next few days in Florida, as well as Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The National Weather Service warned of the possibility that some places would become “uninhabitable” because of the devastation from the strong winds. The situation could last for weeks, maybe even months.
Hurricane Matthew became stronger on Thursday, with sustained winds with speeds of 130 mph. The forecast from the National Hurricane Center said that the hurricane is likely to produce significant impact from extreme winds, storm surge and heavy rains.
The National Hurricane Center warned that hurricane conditions might extend to South Carolina and Georgia by Saturday.
From Florida up to South Carolina, evacuation orders were in place. In total, 2.5 million people were in need of evacuations to get out of the way of Hurricane Matthew. Most of the evacuations took place in Florida. The state organized dozens of shelters for those who were seeking refuge from the storm.
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