MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in every county of Florida ahead of Hurricane Matthew, Monday afternoon.
Scott, who visited the City of Hialeah Emergency Operations Center to meet with emergency management officials, issued the executive order “due to the severity and magnitude of this storm.”
The governor said he signed the executive order to ensure Florida has the necessary resources in case of any evacuations and possible sheltering. “As a Category 4 hurricane, Matthew is life-threatening, with winds of 140 miles per hour and massive amounts of rain, as it travels through the Caribbean Sea,” he said during a press conference.
“We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best … We’re not taking any chances,” Scott said.
As of 4:40 p.m., Matthew continues to move towards the north at 7 mph with 140 mph winds. The forecast cone has shifted further west and now includes parts of South Florida.
“Although Matthew is not currently projected to directly impact Florida, we all know how quickly the track of these storms can change,” Scott said.
“While there are no evacuation orders currently in place, this storm could threaten our state with very little notice and no one should be caught off guard,” he added.
The governor warned residents in evacuation areas to remain vigilant. “If an evacuation order is activated in your area, leave immediately. Once severe weather comes, our first responders will not be able to rescue you until the weather subside,” he said.
Hurricane Matthew is expected to impact Florida starting Wednesday, with possible tropical storm winds, heavy rains and rip currents. “If Matthew directly impacted Florida, the destruction could be catastrophic,” Scott said. “Just think about it. We haven’t had something like this on the East Coast in a long time.”
“I cannot stress this enough: This storm is deadly,” Scott said.
Florida Power and Light said they are monitoring the storm closely and have activated an emergency response plan. About 4,000 of their workers are prepared to respond quickly to the affected areas.
FPL officials said more than a half million dollars have been spent in the last decade to keep trees out of the way of power lines.
Heavy rains from the hurricane’s outer bands caused flooding in Jamaica and Haiti on Monday, sending many people to emergency shelters. Two deaths were reported in Haiti, bringing the total for the storm to at least four.
State officials advised residents to take precautionary measures like buying at least three days’ worth of food and water, medication and batteries, among other supplies. Officials also advised to keep a cellphone fully charged and keep a close eye on the storm’s trajectory.
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