MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a State of Emergency as Hurricane Matthew moves over the Caribbean – nearing Florida.
On Monday afternoon, Scott declared a State of Emergency for every Florida county due to the severity and magnitude of the storm which continues to show a track east of the state.
“Hurricane Matthew is a life-threatening category 4 hurricane and we must all take it seriously. If Hurricane Matthew directly impacts Florida, there could be massive destruction which we haven’t seen since Hurricane Andrew,” said the governor in a statement. That is why we cannot delay and must prepare for direct impact now. Today, I signed an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency in every Florida county to ensure we have resources for evacuations, sheltering and other logistical needs across our state. We are preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best and we will not take any chances to ensure our state is prepared.”
Scott canceled Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting to visit the state’s emergency operations centers along the state’s East coast.
At last check the hurricane was centered about 195 miles (315 kilometers) southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. The center was expected to approach the southwestern tip of Haiti on Monday night, head to eastern Cuba late Tuesday, and move over parts of the Bahamas on Tuesday night and Wednesday, the center said.
Coast Guard officials set “port condition whiskey” for ports in southeastern Florida: Ports and facilities currently remain open to all commercial traffic, but all oceangoing vessels and barges greater than 500 gross tons should start making plans to leave the port, officials said in a news release.
Vessels seeking to stay in the port should contact the captain at each facility to receive permission, according to the release, which also warned pleasure boat owners to seek safe harbor.
In addition, the Coast Guard warned mariners to heed weather watches, warnings, and small craft advisories and to monitor the progress of the storm through local TV, internet, and radio.
Based on the current forecast, the state’s entire East coast from Monroe to Nassau counties could experience tropical storm force winds, beach erosion, rip currents and heavy rain. This is a slow moving storm and could impact Florida as early as Wednesday and last through Saturday.
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