The most violent Caribbean storm in nearly a decade “Hurricane Matthew” hit the Bahamas early Thursday morning, as it intensified and headed towards the southeastern U.S. More than two million citizens have been ordered to evacuate their homes. This is known to be the largest compulsory evacuation the United States has faced since the east coast was hit by “Hurricane Sandy”.
Based on latest forecast, Matthew may make land fall in Florida early tomorrow morning (07/10/2016). Twenty five (25) deaths have been credited to Matthew so far in the Caribbean, most in Haiti, and forecasters have warned of “life-threatening” destructions as it crossed the Bahamas this morning. The storm has forced the presidential election there to be postponed. Matthew, with winds of 125mph (205km/h), is expected to strengthen and hit Florida as a Category Four storm, US officials say.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott gave a serious warning Thursday morning for people living in evacuation zones: “This is serious… Don’t take a chance. A small movement (of the storm) could mean a lot. That’s why we have to prepare for a direct hit. So again, if you need to evacuate and you haven’t, evacuate. This storm will kill you. Time is running out. We don’t have that much time left.” Damage could be “catastrophic”, he says.
Roads in Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina were blocked and gas stations and food stores ran out of supplies as the storm approached, bringing storm outpourings, heavy rain and sustained winds that increased overnight.
It has swept across the Caribbean, with the worst of the damage in Haiti.
President Barack Obama went to the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday to discuss provisions for the hurricane. He said supplies and response teams have been pre-positioned in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
“If there is an evacuation order in your community, you need to take it seriously,” he said.
“Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structures and/or some exterior walls,” according to the hurricane center. “Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks, to possibly months.”