Hurricane Matthew has regained strength and is once again classified as a powerful category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has warned residents from Florida to North Carolina to expect up to 20 inches of rain and "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions." Meanwhile President Obama has declared a state of emergency for Florida, freeing up federal money and personnel to protect lives and property.
1.5 million Floridians have been ordered to evacuate. Earlier this morning Florida Governor Rick Scott warned residents to "evacuate, evacuate, evacuate" saying that "this is going to kill people." According a local Jacksonville station, the storm could knock out power for approximately 7 million people in the United States in a wide swath stretching from Miami to the Carolinas.
Meanwhile the Weather Channel is calling for a storm surge of up to 11 feet in certain areas along the Florida coastline.
Here is a live feed from Surfline which is providing footage up and down Florida's east coast.
Here is a live stream from a neighborhood in Jupiter, FL.
And, here is one more stream from Palm Bay, FL which looks, at this point, as though it will be hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew.
A state of emergency has been declared in Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina as 100,000s of evacuating residents have jammed and gas stations and food stores as both are running out of supplies. Meanwhile mandatory evacuations have been ordered in South Carolina where Governor Nikki Haley warned residents to “get 100 miles away from the coast.”
Florida Governor Rick Scott has issued evacuation orders for 1.5mm Florida residents telling people to "evacuate, evacuate, evacuate." At a press conference earlier today Scott provided a stark warning to people looking to ride out the storm saying "this is going to kill people...If you're in an evacuation zone, get out now."
Scott also warned that areas along the coast will definitely lose power with the only question being how long it will take to restore the grid once it goes down. So far, 2,500 members of the national guard have been activated to assist residents in Florida though Scott noted that more reserves are available to be activated as required.
Per the Miami Herald, very slight changes versus forecast could bring the eye of Hurricane Matthew on shore in Florida.
“It’s geometry,” said former hurricane center director and WPLG hurricane specialist Max Mayfield. “If you draw the Florida peninsula and you have a track parallel to the peninsula like this one, just a five- to 10-degree change in motion is going to bring the core onto the coast.”
In Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who ordered state offices in 26 counties closed and suspended tolls, flew around the state and met with emergency managers to repeat warnings that the powerful storm could unleash heavy damage. Reconstruction costs following a Cat 3 storm for the counties in Matthew’s path run as high as $8.4 billion, according to CoreLogic.
Matthew has already killed at least 100 people and displaced thousands, mostly in southern Haiti, and is expected to cause up to $15BN in property damage in the U.S. with Florida residents bearing the brunt of the pain. Per Bloomberg:
The National Weather Service warned that winds, heavy rain and a storm surge could kill, wash out roads, cut communication links and cause outages lasting weeks. Evacuations could push storm damage to $10 billion to $15 billion mainly in losses related to economic disruption, said Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler with Enki Research in Savannah, Georgia. Jonathan Adams and Jeffrey Flynn, analysts at Bloomberg Intelligence, projected losses to be closer to $5 billion, with Florida bearing the brunt.
Initial video footage from Haita and Cuba reveals the complete devastation of coastal towns in those countries.
Here is the latest update from the National Hurricane Center:
Matthew is currently about 125 miles southeast of West Palm Beach, Florida and is moving northwest at about 14 mph.
The NHC has issued a hurricane warning for east coast residents from Florida up to South Carolina with the storm expected to make landfall as a category 4 storm late tonight.
Various areas of the U.S. east coast are expected to get 10-20 inches of rain.
Meanwhile, the threat of major winds striking the Florida is now a near certainty.