Orlando (WFLA) — Governor Rick Scott updated Florida residents about Hurricane Matthew early Tuesday afternoon.
The governor said that wind strength is currently the biggest concern for Florida. “It hasn’t gotten better for us, it’s gotten worse,” he said.
The Florida National Guard has activated 200 troops. More than 6,000 guardsmen are ready to be deployed if needed.
Scott warned residents that the storm’s direction could change and people should be prepared for prolonged power outages. He said that counties on Florida’s east coast are focused on protecting life.
“Hurricane Matthew is a deadly storm and has already killed multiple people. Our number one priority is to protect life and we will continue to communicate with all 67 Florida counties to ensure critical needs are met. At this time, we cannot focus on the exact track of this storm. We know that it will be very close to our state and any small deviation from its track could mean a catastrophic change along Florida’s east coast. That is why everyone in our state must prepare today for a direct hit,” said Governor Scott.
Many coastal counties are preparing to open shelters within the next 24 hours, if needed.
The Florida Department of Transportation is making sure roads are clear for possible evacuations.
The Florida Highway Patrol has made contact with local troops in preparation for supporting evacuations in the major corridors so people can be moved to safety. The state has been in contact with fuel industry partners and at this time, there are no reported supply, distribution or retail fuel shortages, according to the governor’s office.
On Monday, the governor signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency for every Florida county due to the severity and magnitude of Hurricane Matthew.