- Hurricane Matthew is expected to hit southern Florida late this evening and move up the East Coast
- Powerful storm claimed at least 69 lives as it ripped through Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Tuesday
- The storm intensified to a ‘catastrophic’ Category Four this morning with sustained winds of 140mph
- National Weather Service has advised ‘loss of life’ and ‘immense human suffering’ is possible
- Approximately seven million people could be left without power and some areas left ‘uninhabitable’
- Two million people in the US have been urged to evacuate their homes in preparation for a ‘direct hit’
- Gov. Scott warned Florida warns that the storm ‘is going to kill people’ after declaring a state emergency
- South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said only 175,000 have evacuated so far, warning ‘that’s not enough’
- Eerie satellite images of Matthew over Haiti show the storm forming a grinning skull with glowing red eye
More than two million people in the US have been urged to evacuate their homes because Hurricane Matthew ‘is going to kill people’ as it strengthens on its way towards the East Coast.
Thousands of families have been caught in gridlock in Florida, the Carolinas and Georgia after fleeing their homes ahead of the storm – which is expected to strike Miami early on Friday morning with winds of up to 145mph.
Governor Rick Scott of Florida, reiterating a call for people to evacuate on Thursday morning said there is no reason not to leave the state.
‘Do not surf. Do not go on the beach. This will kill you,’ he said.
The powerful Category Four hurricane, the fiercest Caribbean storm in nearly a decade, has already killed at least 65 people in Haiti and four in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday.At its height, the hurricane was a Category Five with wind speeds of more than 157 mph.
The National Weather Service has advised that ‘loss of life’ and ‘immense human suffering’ is possible for those who don’t take precautions. It could also potentially leave approximately seven million people without power.
President Barack Obama warned: ‘I want to emphasise to the public – this is a serious storm. If there is an evacuation order in your community, you need to take it seriously.’
‘Just remember that you can always rebuild,’ he added. ‘You can always repair property. You cannot restore a life if it is lost and we want to make sure that we minimize any possible loss of life or risk to people in these areas.
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Get out! Traffic was backed up for miles as residents make an evacuation route over 520 bridge heading west from Merritt Island, Florida on Wednesday
South Carolina state troopers direct traffic travelling on I-26 as an evacuation route during preparations for the expected arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday
Motorists wait in a line of cars to buy gas at a Chevron gasoline station on Wednesday in Hollywood, Florida
Evacuations have begun across the states as the deadly, storm will hit the East Coast (pictured, bus drivers with the Greenville, South Carolina school district wait for word when to start evacuating people to Greenville from North Charleston)
One way traffic: Tailbacks can be seen on just one side of the road stretching back for miles; the other side of the highway is understandably completely empty