Hurricane Matthew is currently hovering over Haiti and Cuba, where it has already claimed 9 lives, and remains a “life-threatening” Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 140 MPH. Compared to forecast models from the National Hurricane Center presented yesterday, Hurricane Matthew is now considered more likely to sustain major hurricane force winds later into the week and is also more likely to make landfall in Florida as early as Thursday afternoon.
Per the Associated Press, the change in the projected path of the hurricane caused South Carolina’s governor to issue an evacuation order for Wednesday so that 1 million people would have time to leave the coast ahead of the storm’s arrival. Meanwhile, residents up and down the Eastern seaboard entered better-safe-than-sorry mode, flocking to hardware stores, grocery aisles and gas stations to prepare for the powerful storm.
At this point, governors in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina have all declared states of emergency.
Florida Governor Rick Scott warned residents they must be prepared to take a direct hit and evacuation orders could be issued as early as Tuesday. Scott said his biggest worry is that residents won’t take seriously the threat from Matthew, especially since so many newer residents have never lived through a hurricane.
The latest 48-hour outlook from the National Hurricane Center calls for the storm to continue moving north, at 9 MPH, reaching the northwestern Bahamas by tomorrow night.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Matthew is still expected to dump up to 40 inches of rain over certain portions of Haiti and deliver a dangerous storm surge that could raise water levels by as much as 15 feet in certain areas.
— Eric Blake (@EricBlake12) October 4, 2016
As compared to yesterday, Hurricane Matthew is now expected to remain a major hurricane later into the week and its projected path now looks more likely to cross over parts of central and northern Florida.
Meanwhile, the chances of Florida being hit with hurricane force winds has increased from 20% yesterday to 40% today.
Below is some initial footage of Hurricane Matthew as it made its first landfall in Haiti.
— Val Adrien (@valadrien) October 4, 2016
— SBHF (@StBonifaceHaiti) October 4, 2016
— UNICEF USA (@unicefusa) October 4, 2016