October 5, 2016

Evacuations have been ordered for parts of Florida in the face of Hurricane Matthew, which is currently blowing through the Caribbean as a Category 4 storm, killing 11 people so far.

The entire east coast of Florida was under some kind of hurricane or tropical storm warning or watch. A warning means the storm conditions are expected within 36 hours, a watch means the conditions are possible within 48 hours. On Wednesday, the more sobering warning was expanded, now stretching from Miami to Daytona Beach.

"The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded," the hurricane center warned. "There is a danger of life-threatening inundation."

Scott warned residents to prepare for power outages and evacuations. A mandatory evacuation of Brevard County's barrier island was set to begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Satellite Beach City Manager Courtney Barker announced on her city Facebook page. The evacuation also includes Merritt Island, low-lying flood-prone areas and mobile or manufactured homes.

"This is a unique and dangerous hurricane. People need to take evasive action," said Don Walker, spokesman for Brevard County's Emergency Management Office.

President Obama was scheduled to do a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton in Florida, but cancelled it. During a meeting with his FEMA response team, he warned residents to heed the warnings, prepare, and evacuate as necessary.

"This is a serious storm," said Obama. "It has already hit Haiti with devastating effect. It is now in the process of moving through the Bahamas and because it is not going through much land, it will be building strength on its way to Florida."

Obama reminded residents who have been ordered to evacuate that they can "always rebuild their property" but they "cannot restore a life if it is lost."

"We want to make sure that we minimize any possible loss of life," Obama said.

We know some of you in our C&L community live in Florida, South Carolina, and other southeastern states, and will hold you in our thoughts as the storm moves through. Stay safe and let us know you're okay after the storm.

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