Hurricane Matthew Warnings Shift Toward Florida as Scott Declares State of Emergency

Hurricane Matthew Warnings Shift Toward Florida as Scott Declares State of Emergency
National Hurricane Center

Update October 4, 11 .a.m.: NOAA has put the area of the Florida Keys until Deerfield Beach under a tropical storm warning.

Miamians still aren't sure whether to prepare for the beach this weekend or to get ready for a multi-foot storm surge. Hurricane Matthew is slowly barreling through the Caribbean — and this morning's prediction that the Category 4 storm would stay east of the Florida coastline is now out the window.

The National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. update shows the storm shifting dramatically to the west — right toward the Sunshine State.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has not yet issued a hurricane warning for any parts of the state — those warnings are typically sent out about 36 hours before the storm is expected to make landfall. A warning for "life-threatening rain, wind, and storm surge" is in effect for Haiti tonight, and parts of Jamaica, the southern and central Bahamas, and eastern Cuba are also on alert.

"Interests elsewhere in Hispaniola, the Bahamas, and in the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys should monitor the progress of Matthew," the NOAA said today.

The alert warns that Matthew is expected to make a northwest turn Wednesday and that hurricane-force winds are expected to reach up to 40 miles out from the eye of the storm. Meteorologists say Matthew is gusting 140 mph winds near its eye wall.

Just before the warning was issued, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in every county in Florida:

Though declaring an emergency in every single county in Florida may seem like overkill, the order frees up money and resources the state can use to prepare in advance.

"Hurricane Matthew is a life-threatening category four hurricane and we must all take it seriously," he said in a release. "If Hurricane Matthew directly impacts Florida, there could be massive destruction which we haven’t seen since Hurricane Andrew devastated Miami-Dade County in 1992. That is why we cannot delay and must prepare for direct impact now."

To find out if you live in an evacuation zone, click here.

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