Time: 9:46 a.m. CEST
Hurricane Matthew affects millions of people as the storm heads toward the U.S. coast early on October 7. Reuters reports Weather Channel estimates the storm could affect more than 12 million people. The Agence-France Presse reports about jammed shelters in the eastern coast of Florida as residents moved with the pets from the “potentially catastrophic” effects of Hurricane Matthew.
At 1:00 a.m. EDT (05:00 GMT), hurricane Matthew was about 90 miles (140 km) southeast of Florida’s Cape Canaveral. The hurricane center expects the storm could gradually weaken after the weekend.
Regardless, all major air companies, including American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines cancelled flights in south Florida and in the areas of the storm’s path. Sheltering residents emptied not only their houses, but also the shelves at supermarkets.
Most of the fuel stations in Florida posted signs they are “out of gas.” People put storm boards on the shop and houses windows to protect them of the heavy rains and the approaching storm.
The storm that will have a direct hit to Florida, arrived in the coast on Friday with heavy rains and winds after caused a major death toll in the Caribbean, where only in Haiti, more than 800 people died. The south-western coast of Haiti, suffered the most of the full force of the hurricane.
In the neighboring Dominican Republic four people died. In Florida, it will be a major storm in more than 10 years, with winds gusts ranging from 60 miles per hour (100 kph) to 130 mph (215 kph) in its path from the Bahamas to Florida’s Atlantic coast.
As neared Florida, hurricane Matthew remained a Category 4 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale. Reuters reports the U.S. National Weather Service explains the storm will be the most powerful to strike Florida in 118 years. The National Hurricane Center extended the warning from southern Florida to Georgia and into South Carolina.
Florida’s Governor Rick Scott activated thousands National Guard troops and warned residents of the storm’s severity. Millions of people will not have electricity. About three million Americans will evacuate in the states of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
President Barack Obama declared state of emergency in Florida and South Carolina. “Hurricane Matthew is as serious as it gets. Listen to local officials, prepare, take care of each other,” Obama warned in a posting on Twitter.