Residents and tourists on Thursday were ordered to evacuate the coastal areas of southeast Florida and South Carolina as Hurricane Matthew surged toward the U.S. after battering the Bahamas, Haiti, and other parts of the Caribbean, reports USA Today.
The storm on Wednesday hammered the Bahamas and whipped toward Florida after “killing at least 21 people in Haiti and prompting the hard-hit country to postpone a long-awaited presidential election,” according to Global News.
“This is a serious storm,” President Obama said after he was briefed on preparations for Matthew at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters in Washington. He added: “You can always rebuild, you can always repair property. You cannot restore a life if it is lost.”
Authorities urged more than 2 million people to leave their homes in coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina as the storm neared — the largest mandatory evacuations in the United States since Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012.
It’s moving northwest at about 12 mph and packing 125 mph (205 kph) winds — a Category 3 storm. Thursday morning it was about 30 miles (45 km) south-southwest of Nassau, Bahamas, and 215 miles (350 km) from West Palm Beach, Florida.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday morning urged people to leave the state, saying, “get out, don’t take a chance. Time is running out,” writes CNN.