Here’s what you need to know:
• The storm has killed at least 269 people in three Caribbean countries. The majority, 264 people, died in Haiti, said Civil Protection Service spokesman Joseph Edgard Celestin.
• Matthew remains a Category 4 storm with winds of 130 mph, according to the latest National Hurricane Center advisory. As of 9 p.m. ET, Matthew was located about 70 miles east of West Palm Beach. The center of the storm was moving northwest at 13 mph.
• President Obama declared a state of emergency for Florida and South Carolina.
• Based on the latest projections, Matthew could make landfall in Florida as a Category 4 storm, or it could skirt the coast and head north.
JACKSONVILLE, FL — Hurricane Matthew is a monster. The death toll has risen to 269, according to officials in Haiti, as it continues to roar towards Florida’s east coast.
The outer bands hammered the Sunshine Statewith wicked winds Thursday night and increasingly heavy rain.
If the storm’s wrath isn’t enough on its own, the possibility of up to 11 feet of storm surge could leave hundreds of thousands of homes inundated with water and without power.
“We are already starting to see the impacts (from Hurricane Matthew), and it’s a monster,” Gov. Rick Scott said at an evening news conference. Scott told residents in evacuation zones to go inland. “You still have time to leave. Get out. There’s no reason to take a chance.”
Officials from Miami to North Carolina don’t intend to risk their residents’ safety. Residents who aren’t under mandatory evacuation orders have been warned to remain vigilant and be prepared to outmaneuver the storm, depending on its track.