Hurricane Matthew is one serious storm, and you’ll probably want to be as far away from it as possible when it hits the US east coast on Thursday. Florida Gov. Rick Scott already warned millions of people who are living in the evacuation zones of the imminent danger this massive storm poses. “This storm will kill you,” Scott said on Thursday morning.
The governor ordered state offices in 26 counties closed, and tolls have been suspended. He told Floridians to “prepare for a direct hit” in a news conference. Similarly, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and South Caroline Gov. Nikki Haley ordered tens of thousands of people to evacuate coastal areas, ABC News reports.
“The extreme winds of a major hurricane can do a lot of damage and not just at the coast,” director of the National Hurricane Center Rick Knabb told Good Morning America. “Those winds can penetrate inland, and that would be more so the case the closer it gets to the coast,” he said warned. “In addition to the wind, you have storm surge potential.”
Knabb continued, “People who have been told to evacuate, they need to get out this morning, right away, because time is running out fast. You don’t want to be caught in the storm surge which is the deadliest hazard of all.”
Hurricane Matthew is the most powerful storm to hit the Atlantic Coast in more than a decade. The storm was expected to strengthen from a Category 3 to a Category 4 hurricane with 145 mph winds as it approaches Florida. Off the coast, the hurricane already killed 16 people in the Caribbean, including 10 in Haiti.
Officials in three southeast states urged some two million people to evacuate and head for areas away from the coast.
Up to 15 inches of rain may fall in some areas, and a storm surge of up to 8 feet is expected along the coast from central Florida to Georgia. According to the National Hurricane Center, there’s danger of life-threatening inundation for the next 36 hours along the Florida and Georgia coasts.