Hurricane Matthew is expected to be a category 4 storm by the time it hits the U.S. Winds are projected to reach 140 mph and gusts are expected to get up to 165 mph. The tempest has already killed at least 113 people in the Caribbean islands, causing some analysts to speculate it could be the most expensive storm in U.S. history.
Hurricane Matthew is forecast to hit Florida late Thursday night or early Friday morning. While it’s possible that the storm could bypass the U.S. entirely, that’s not to say that residents shouldn’t err on the side of caution.
Florida’s Governor Rick Scott pleaded with residents to take the warnings seriously.
“This is serious. … If you need to evacuate and you haven’t, evacuate. This storm will kill you. Time is running out. We don’t have that much time left.”
But Florida residents aren’t the only people who should take heed. Those living in the coastal regions of Georgia and South Carolina have also been advised to evacuate. Daytona Beach, Florida Mayor Derrick Henry also urged residents to take the warnings seriously.
“Worry about your possessions later. Take care of your life now. You only have one life,” he said.
National Guard units have already been deployed to the coastal regions in order to help prepare for the natural disaster. Highways and roads leading away from the coast are already packed with bumper-to-bumper traffic. Experts are advising residents to keep cash on hand (in case there is a power outage and card-reader machines don’t work) and to stock up on plenty of food and water.
For those who want to help with disaster relief efforts, there are several nonprofit charities that will be providing aid in the wake of the storm. The following organizations have been carefully vetted and approved by Charity Navigator: