Sending out this message as Hurricane Matthew gets ready to go onshore somewhere along the coast of eastern Florida so hopefully you have made your final preparations and have either evacuated or are ready to ride this storm out. As we speak this is a Category 3 with potential to grow into a more devastating Category 4, so this is nothing to play with as we are likely to lose power and other utilities (including phone and Internet) so keep your fingers crossed that our emergency teams in Florida will be able to do their best to keep us safe and able to communicate soon.
I’m attaching the latest map showing how this will likely ride up our coast and making landfall somewhere between Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral, so it obviously does not look good for us here. There are some projections that show the storm going near Georgia and South Carolina and then heading east with a potential of turning back SOUTH, which no one can imagine getting hit twice by the same storm and this is one tourist that we don’t want back.
Please be safe and heed the warnings that are continuously being sent by TV/Radio/Internet and if you are not sure what to do, go to your local EMA listed at the bottom of this message to advise where a local shelter is located that you can ride out the storm at.
I’ll keep communicating as we still have connectivity @glenbenjamin or @soflatech and keep those good thoughts and prayers coming folks!
Florida residents continue to prepare for the possible landfall arrival of Hurricane Matthew, currently a category 3 hurricane that has already caused severe damage to Haiti and the Bahamas earlier this week. The eye of the storm is currently just under 200 miles from the Florida coast, and is expected to gain strength make landfall as a category 4 hurricane late Thursday night or early Friday morning.
Current computer models put Florida’s Palm Beach County at the heaviest point of impact for the impending storm. If Matthew makes landfall, it will be the first hurricane to directly hit the state since Hurricane Wilma in October 2005.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott Wednesday urged Floridians in a press conference yesterday to “prepare now for a direct hit,” though the statement was made before the models more clearly projected such a direct hit on Florida. “If Matthew directly impacts Florida, there will be massive destruction that we haven’t seen in years,” he said. “This storm is going to kill people.”
Weather forecasters and locals news stations used strong language when urging locals to prepare for the storm and remain vigilant.
“Extremely dangerous and life-threatening wind is possible,” wrote the National Weather Service’s Melbourne office in a forecast discussion. “Failure to adequately shelter may result in serious injury, loss of life or immense human suffering.”
Emergency managers in Palm Beach County ordered residents to evacuate barrier islands, mobile home parks and substandard housing Wednesday evening, according to the Palm Beach Post.
“We need to evacuate inland within the county and not go to Georgia or Orlando,” Bill Johnson, director of Palm Beach County emergency management, told the Sun-Sentinel. “We run from the surge. We hide from the wind. We are evacuating people because of surge – not because of wind.”
Mandatory evacuation orders were also in effect for Brevard County’s Merritt Island, barrier islands and low-lying areas, and in St. Johns County, low-lying areas and barrier islands will be ordered to evacuate on Thursday.
Voluntary evacuations are currently in place for parts of numerous other counties; the Florida Division of Emergency Management has a complete list. In total, about 1.5 million Floridians have been ordered or urged to move away from the coast, Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz told the Associated Press.
The governor’s office announced Wednesday that all tolls would be lifted on roadways necessary for evacuation, and also announced that state offices would be closed Thursday and Friday in 26 counties expected to bear the brunt of the storm’s fury.
Floridians spent their Wednesday preparing for the storm, including buying wood to board up their homes, preparing their hurricane emergency kit and stocking up on non-perishable food and water. Reports have been circulating about local stores including Lowes and Publix being completely sold out of staples like timber and bottled water. Lines at gas stations around the state have been snaking for blocks since early this morning.
Local school districts around the state have already started canceling school this week. Affected counties include Miami-Dade County, Osceola district schools, Volusia County, Flagler County, Polk County, Seminole County and Palm Beach County, which canceled school Thursday and Friday, and Duval County, which canceled school indefinitely until further notice. Local news channels are keeping full and updated lists.
Moreover, the University of Central Florida Cocoa and Palm Bay campuses will be closed starting Wednesday until further notice. Students should monitor their emails and the school’s Twitter page for updates.
The Florida Coast Guard will close all inlet and Intracoastal Waterway bridges in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties beginning Wednesday night beginning at 8 p.m. until further notice, according to the Boca Raton Police Department. Localities around eastern Florida are prepping for the storm and are preparing to close down all official offices as well.
Evacuation shelters will begin opening on Wednesday afternoon. The full list of shelters as they open will be available here.
Scott also announced the activation of 200 Florida National Guardsmen during a Tuesday press conference. He activated 300 more on Wednesday, and another 6,000 members of the FNG were placed on standby in the event of a large-scale evacuation or response effort after the storm.
According to the Miami Herald, local governments have also checked storm drains, drained canals into the Atlantic Ocean and Florida Bay and took stock of their shoreline amid expectations of beach erosion, while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspected the Hoover Dike at Lake Okeechobee, where Matthew’s intense winds can create complications.
Fort Lauderdale International Airport will close Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. EDT, officials told the Sun-Sentinel.
No evacuations have been ordered for the city of Miami, but Mayor Carlos Gimenez urged residents to prepare for a hurricane.
“The message is simple,” he told reporters, according to ABC News. “You should be prepared.”
For more updates from emergency management offices, visit: