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After severe, fatal impacts in Haiti and throughout the Caribbean, Hurricane Matthew’s outer rain bands reached Florida in the early hours on Thursday. And its path isn’t slowing.
Florida had gone over a decade without a hurricane until Hermine earlier this year. Matthew seems likely to become one of the most dangerous and costly storms the United States has experienced since at least Sandy in 2012. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said that no matter its precise path, “the effects will be devastating.”
The storm is expected to move up along Florida’s eastern coast beginning very early Friday morning as a Category 4 hurricane with storm surges as high as 9 feet in some areas.
Because the storm will move up the coast rather than cross over onto land, the National Hurricane Center warns that wobbles in the storm’s path could significantly change which areas see the most intense effects.
The eye of the storm should approach Georgia by early Saturday morning, rolling across the state’s and South Carolina’s coastlines over the course of the day. North Carolina could also begin feeling the storm Saturday or early Sunday. It should turn out to sea before nearing Virginia.
Because Matthew has rain bands extending miles from its eye, wind, rain, and tropical storm conditions could arrive long before the most intense hurricane-force winds and surges.