Hurricane Matthew has started closing in to Florida forcing the people scurrying to take cover. Florida has already been lashed by Matthew-forced heavy rains and catastrophic 130 mile-per-hour winds. Warning has also been issued to two million Americans living across US southeast to flee safer places inland.
President Barack Obama has declared emergencies in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina while evacuation orders have been issued for areas covering at least three million people.
Matthew is about 100 miles or more off south of the US state of Florida, is thus far sparing the 4.4 million people in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas from its most punishing effects. However, by last night over 80,000 homes and businesses were without power while streets in Vero Beach were partially covered with water, and hotel guests in Orlando were told to stay inside.
Ferocious Matthew was expected to hit the shore early Friday north of Palm Beach County, Florida which has about 1.4 million people.
Forecasters said it would then probably hug the coast of Georgia and South Carolina over the weekend.
Millions of people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina were told to evacuate their homes, and interstate highways were turned into one-way routes to speed the exodus. Florida alone accounted for about 1.5 million of those told to clear out.
“The storm has already killed people. We should expect the same impact in Florida,” the governor warned.
Meanwhile, the death toll from Hurricane Matthew has risen to 339 in Haiti.