MIAMI (WSVN) - The tropical storm warning has expired for coastal Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, as well as the Florida Keys, from the Seven Mile Bridge eastward.
The hurricane warning for Broward County expired as of the 8 p.m. advisory, Thursday.
5 a.m. National Hurricane Center (NHC) advisory:
- Hurricane Matthew has weakened into a Category 3 with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph. The hurricane is located at 28.2°N 80.0°W and is moving north-northwest at 13 mph.
- Matthew was last located about 40 miles east-southeast of Cape Canaveral.
Hurricane Matthew’s wrath is still menacing more than 500 miles of coastline. As of Friday morning, the storm is expected to batter east coast of central Florida.
On Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott said the state, its skies already darkening from the deadly storm’s outer bands of rain, could be facing its “biggest evacuation ever.”
About 1.5 million people were warned to evacuate their homes and flee inland. Forecasters estimate about 15 inches of rain, which could cause a storm surge of more than 9-feet.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Gov. Scott informed residents in evacuation zones to remain vigilant. “Shelters will begin to open [Wednesday and Thursday] for special needs populations, pets and general populations,” he said. “The American Red Cross will also be opening 97 shelters across the state over the next two days. There is absolutely no reason not to evacuate, and there is shelter available for anyone in our state.”
In South Florida the impact was less than expected. However, areas in Miami-Dade and Broward counties still experienced highs gusts of wind, which caused thousand to be left without power.
Due to precautions all incoming American Airlines flights scheduled for Thursday were canceled at Miami International Airport. There were limited departures before noon on Thursday and no American Airlines departed flights after noon. However, MIA will resume flights at around 10 a.m., Friday.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport closed down, Thursday, at 10:30 a.m. The airport is expected to resume all flights starting at noon, Friday. Travelers are urged to check with their airlines for updates.
Scott, on Wednesday, had directed the Florida Department of Transportation to suspend all tolls in affected areas, including the Florida Turnpike, Alligator Alley, Central Florida Expressway Authority and the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority.
The governor was in Marathon, early Tuesday morning, warning residents to take this storm seriously. “Right now, we expect to see impacts all along Florida’s East Coast,” said Scott in a news conference. “From the Keys, all the way through Jacksonville.”
On Wednesday, Scott activated an additional 1,000 National Guard members across the state for a current total of 1,500. “[They] will be focused on staging to perform search and rescue efforts and will be ready to assist our counties as they need it,” he said in a statement.
Scott also signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in every Florida county to ensure resources for evacuations, sheltering and other logistical needs across the state are readily available.
Click to here to view our guide on how to prepare for a storm.
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