MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Florida Governor Rick Scott remained cautious Friday as Hurricane Matthew hugged the central Florida coast.
“We’re not out of this yet and we’re just now doing the assessments,” said Scott. “This won’t leave our state until early tomorrow morning.”
It’s a message reiterated by President Barack Obama.
“I just want to emphasize to everybody that this is still a very dangerous hurricane that the potential for storm surge, flooding, and loss of life continues to exist and that people continue to follow the instructions of local officials,” said the president.
Back in Florida, the governor said they planned on going out sometime Friday to start assessing the damage from the now category 3 hurricane. Along the coast, parts of the state have felt hurricane force winds and will continue to do so.
“The storm is here. It’s just halfway up our state,” said Scott.”While the eye has not made direct landfall, it still has time to make a direct hit and as we’ve seen, it’s wobbled.”
Scott said he was still very concerned about the Jacksonville area and Nassau County since they are low-lying areas.
“There’s potential for significant flooding there,” said Scott referring to Jacksonville.
Again, reiterated by the president.
“This big concern that people are having right now is in areas like Jacksonville on to Georgia,” said Obama.
About 600,000 homes in Florida remain without power but that is something that is being worked on.
“Some utility companies in Florida have already told me they are already restoring power in Miami and Palm Beach counties,” said Scott. “But more outages are going to come.”
Florida Fish & Wildlife has 90 officers in the state conducting search and rescue operations and another 70 on standby.
“What we’re doing is as the storm passes, we’re sending them in to do assessments, both property and people,” said Scott. “They have not reported any issues yet.”
When it comes to the streets, Florida Highway Patrol has 150 troopers on highway safety and another 100 on standby. At last check, they had not reported any issues. All major roads and interstates in Florida are open.
All major roads and interstates in Florida are open but all toll suspensions remain in effect.
In Miami and West Palm Beach where the storm has already passed, the Department of Transportation is investigating the roads.
“There are no issues to report at this time,” said Scott on the matter.
For those still looking for shelter, there are 145 of them open throughout the state.
“We have over 22,000 people in our shelters,” said Scott.
As for those who have evacuated, Scott said, “The evacuations worked” but told the public not to go home until their area has been cleared for return.
On a federal level, the governor requested a number of things in the aftermath of the storm.
“Food, water, tarps, generators, water pumps, search and rescue teams, hazmat assessment teams, cots, blankets, food distribution vehicles, helicopters…At this time they are supporting all of our requests,” said Scott. “If our local communities need more resources, we will continue to make requests of FEMA.”
The governor is scheduled to meet with the National Hurricane Center for the next update at 11:15 a.m.