PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Gov. Rick Scott is urging residents up and down Florida’s Interstate 95 corridor to start preparing for “direct impacts” of Hurricane Matthew.
Scott was in the Florida Keys Tuesday morning for a briefing on the Category 4 storm that is currently moving over the southwestern coast of Haiti. The storm is heading toward Cuba and the southeastern coast of Florida.
The governor warned residents to take the storm seriously, adding “we cannot rule out a direct hit.” He says heavy rain, spin off tornadoes, high winds and beach erosion are among the concerns in Florida.
He asked residents to listen for directions from local officials and to “prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
Scott and other officials are urging people to have at least a three-day supply of food, water and medicine on hand. Also, Scott urged people to get gas in their vehicles and to keep cellphones charged in case of electrical power loss.
Matthew was a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph (230 kph) Monday night, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. The hurricane was centered about 190 miles (310 kilometers) southwest of Port Au Prince, Haiti. The storm was moving north at 7 mph (11 kph). Matthew’s center will approach southwestern Haiti Monday night, move near eastern Cuba late Tuesday, and move near or over portions of the southeastern and central Bahamas Tuesday night and Wednesday, the center said.
The U.S. Coast Guard officials set “port condition whiskey” for ports in southeastern Florida: Ports and facilities currently remain open to all commercial traffic, but all oceangoing vessels and barges greater than 500 gross tons should start making plans to leave the port, officials said in a news release.
Vessels seeking to stay in the port should contact the captain at each facility to receive permission, according to the release, which also warned pleasure boat owners to seek safe harbor.
In addition, the Coast Guard warned mariners to heed weather watches, warnings and small craft advisories and to monitor the progress of the storm through local TV, internet and radio.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.