Hurricane Matthew, as put by The Weather Channel, “will be the strongest Florida east coast strike since Hurricane Andrew.”
The Category 4 hurricane, which originally formed as a tropical storm off the coast of Africa, is expected to bring gusting winds and heavy rains to the Central Florida area. It has already hit Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas, moving at roughly a speed of 14 mph and with winds blowing at a rate of 140 mph.
With more than 200 fatalities in Haiti, Florida Gov. Rick Scott urged residents along the east coast to find safety and evacuate. He explained that a shelter or evacuation location “might not be the nicest accommodation, but probably is a much safer [place] than your house or your apartment.”
The anticipation of Matthew has led to the evacuation orders of nearly 1.5 million people and forced airports to cancel flights leaving from Orlando, Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
With the onset of Hurricane Matthew, here’s what Florida residents need to know:
Emergency supply kits should include:
- One gallon of water per person per a day for three days
- Three-day supply of nonperishable food items
- Hand-held can opener
- Change of clothes
- First aid supplies
- Portable phone charger
- Copies of important papers
To receive updates on Hurricane Matthew:
- Text FLPREPARES to 888777 for State Emergency Response team notices
- Click phone settings and turn on Emergency Alerts
- Check fl511.com for safe traffic routes and traffic patterns
- Visit floridaevacuates.com for evacuation locations and shelters
- Subscribe to UCF Alert text messages
- Stay inside
- Abide by curfews:
- Orange County: 10 p.m. on Thursday to 7 a.m. on Saturday
- Seminole County: 5 a.m. on Friday to 7 a.m. on Saturday
- Seek shelter in a windowless, indoor area
- Only return home when told by authorities
- Wear durable clothing (long pants, long shirts, baseball cap, etc.)
- Stay away from fallen power cords
- Don’t walk or drive through standing water
No matter where people are in Florida, they can expect at least a foot of water, power outages, heavy rains and winds, many fallen trees and excess debris throughout impacted areas.
More information can be found at www.ready.gov.