TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency on Monday as Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm, moves closer towards Florida in its projected path.
Scott cautioned that Matthew is a dangerous hurricane and asked Florida residents to prepare and watch for updates.
The National Hurricane Center’s official forecast has kept the storm just off the state’s east coast, but Scott said Matthew could still bring rains, floods, and high winds to the state.
“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,” Scott said in a statement.
The governor’s order activates the state Emergency Operations Center that should free up resources for evacuations, sheltering and other needs. The order also puts the National Guard on standby.
Hurricane Matthew could bring tropical storm force winds from Monroe to Nassau counties, as well as beach erosion, rip currents and torrential rains.
The hurricane has already caused four deaths in the Caribbean, but that number could rise as the storm approaches Haiti, Cuba, and Jamaica.
Matthew will become a Category 2 hurricane once it reaches the Bahamas, but forecasters warn that it’s still too early to predict the strength of the storm as it passes Florida.
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