Posts Tagged ‘bahamas’

Matthew approaches as South Florida sees first rain bands, expected Cat 4

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Forecasters say the first outer rain bands from Hurricane Matthew already have begun to approach Florida as the big storm crosses the Bahamas toward the state.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Matthew is still a Category 3 hurricane as of 8 a.m. Thursday, packing top sustained winds up to 125 mph. It’s still expected to become an even more powerful Category 4 storm in coming hours as it approaches Florida’s east coast starting Thursday night.
The storm is centered about 215 miles southeast of West Palm Beach, Florida and moving northwest toward the state at 12 mph.
7:20 a.m.
Officials at Florida’s major airports are monitoring conditions as Hurricane Matthew bears down on Florida.
On its website, Fort Lauderdale International Airport announced plans to close at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Officials advised travelers to check with individual airlines about flight plans.
Officials at Miami International Airport will continue monitoring the storm and warned of possible flight cancellations. On its website, officials noted that generally “airports don’t’ operate in sustained crosswinds that exceed 35 mph.”
The Palm Beach International Airport website doesn’t say when flights will be suspended, but asked travelers to stay away, noting that the airport is not intended for use as a shelter.
In Orlando airport officials are preparing for hurricane conditions. In a note on its website, officials at Orlando International Airport say they plan to being “reducing flights into Orlando and altering schedules starting Thursday, lasting through Friday.” They, too, advise travelers to get in contact with individual airlines for flight plans.
The Jacksonville International Airport website also advises travelers to check flight status with the airlines before heading to the airport.
6:55 a.m.
With Hurricane Matthew approaching Florida, patients are being transferred from two waterfront hospitals and a nursing home near Daytona Beach to facilities away from the coast.
Florida Hospital Oceanside in Ormond Beach

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Hundreds of thousands flee Florida coast to escape Matthew’s fury

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Hundreds of thousands of anxious people boarded up their homes and businesses and grabbed a few belongings to flee inland as Hurricane Matthew gained strength and roared toward the Southeast seaboard on Thursday.
In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott said the state, its skies already darkening from early outer rain bands of the life-threatening storm, could be facing its “biggest evacuation ever” as Matthew menaces almost all the state’s Atlantic coast.
As people hurried for higher ground, authorities in South Carolina said a motorist died on Wednesday after being shot by deputies during an altercation along an evacuation route.
Scott said Florida, its skies already darkening from early outer rain bands of the life-threatening storm, could be facing its “biggest evacuation ever” as Matthew menaces almost all the state’s Atlantic coast.
About 2 million people from Florida across Georgia to South Carolina were being encouraged to head inland and away from the most powerful storm to threaten the Atlantic coast in more than a decade. Matthew killed at least 16 people in the Caribbean as it sliced through Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas.
“This is a dangerous storm,” Scott warned. “The storm has already killed people. We should expect the same impact in Florida.”
Hurricane Matthew is barreling over the Bahamas and taking aim at Florida, expected to near the Atlantic coast starting Thursday night. The Category 3 storm has top sustained winds of 125 mph. Florida hasn’t been hit by a storm this powerful in more than a decade.
Florida emergency officials said 48 shelters in schools already have begun providing refuge to more than 3,000 people, some with special needs, mostly in coastal counties where evacuations both mandatory and voluntary were underway. Patients also were transferred from two Florida waterfront hospitals and a nursing home near Daytona Beach to safer locations.
Major theme parks in Orlando, central

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At least 500K urged to evacuate as Matthew nears Florida

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Hurricane Matthew marched toward Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas and at least a half a million people along the coast were urged to evacuate their homes Wednesday, a mass exodus ahead of a major storm packing power the U.S. hasn’t seen in more than a decade.
Matthew was a dangerous and life-threatening Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 120 mph (190 kph) as it passed through the Bahamas, and it was expected to be very near Florida’s Atlantic coast by Thursday evening. At least 11 deaths in the Caribbean have been blamed on the storm, with heavy damage reported in Haiti.
The storm was forecast to scrape much of the Florida coast and any slight deviation could mean landfall or it heading farther out to sea. Either way, it was going to be close enough to wreak havoc along the lower part of the East Coast, and many people weren’t taking any chances.
In Melbourne Beach, near the Kennedy Space Center, Carlos and April Medina moved their paddle board and kayak inside the garage and took pictures off the walls of their home about 500 feet from the coast. They moved the pool furniture inside, turned off the water, disconnected all electrical appliances and emptied their refrigerator.
They then hopped in a truck filled with legal documents, jewelry and a decorative carved shell that had once belonged to April Medina’s great-grandfather and headed west to Orlando, where they planned to ride out the storm with their daughter’s family.
“The way we see it, if it maintains its current path, we get tropical storm-strength winds. If it makes a little shift to the left, it could be a Category 2 or 3 and I don’t want to be anywhere near it,” Carlos Medina said. “We are just being a little safe, a little bit more

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Obama briefed on federal hurricane preparations, S.C. town closes in preparation

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

President Barack Obama is being briefed on the federal government’s preparation for Hurricane Matthew as the Category 3 storm makes its way to the U.S. mainland.
The president says now is the time to “hope for the best but we want to prepare for the worst.”
Obama is at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters. FEMA has deployed personnel to emergency operation centers in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. It’s also positioning commodities and other supplies at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and in Albany, Georgia.
Government officials are worried about complacency, especially in South Florida, which hasn’t seen a major hurricane in 11 years. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Matthew will remain a powerful storm at least through Thursday night.
***
Meanwhile, the beach town of Folly Beach on the South Carolina coast southwest of Charleston is closed to everyone except residents and essential personnel.
Police at a checkpoint at the bridge leading onto the island are turning back visitors and sightseers. But several pickup trucks could be seen carrying plywood onto the island. Several businesses in town and on the road leading from the mainland are boarded up.
The barrier island is subject to erosion and its beaches and a county park at Folly have been heavily damaged in storms in years past.
Republished with permission of the Associated Press
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Evacuations underway in 2 Florida counties

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in Brevard County, and voluntary evacuations have been activated in St. Lucie County, but Gov. Rick Scott urged other coastal residents potentially in harm’s way not to wait to be told to leave.
The governor said during a Wednesday morning news conference that “if you’re able to go early, leave now.” The mandatory evacuations were scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.
The slow-moving storm was expected to drench the coast from the Keys through central Florida, storm surge up to 5 feet deep was expected along the Atlantic coast, and the hurricane could produce tornadoes. Even if Matthew doesn’t come ashore, its tropical storm-force winds could reach the state.
In his 5 a.m. analysis of the forecast models for Matthew’s track along the Atlantic coast, senior hurricane specialist Daniel Brown wrote, “Only a slight deviation to the west of forecast track could result in landfall in Florida.”
“We must prepare to be hit by a devastating hurricane,” Scott said.
“This is a dangerous storm and it’s never too early to evacuate,” Scott said. “If you live in a low-lying area or on a barrier island, go ahead and leave.”
Republished with permission of the associated Press.
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Hurricane warning extended for Florida’s coast

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

The National Hurricane Center has extended the hurricane warning northward in Florida as Matthew heads toward the East Coast.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Matthew is heading toward the Bahamas after hitting Cuba hard.
The hurricane center says the hurricane was about 105 miles (165 kilometers) south of Long Island, Bahamas. It has maximum sustained winds of 120 mph (195 kph).
The hurricane center said there is a danger of life-threatening inundation during the next 36 hours along Florida’s east coast from North Palm Beach to the Flagler/Volusia county line. There is the possibility of life-threatening inundation during the next 48 hours from north of the Flagler/Volusia county line to Fernandina Beach.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Nicole is moving west-northwestward over the western Atlantic with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph). It poses no threat to land.
The U.S. government says its disaster assessment teams are working to evaluate the effects of Hurricane Matthew a day after the storm blew across a portion of southwestern Haiti with winds of 145 mph (233 kph).
USAID official R. David Harden told reporters in a conference call Wednesday that it had pre-positioned emergency food and other aid in advance of the storm. The assistant administrator for the bureau for democracy, conflict, and humanitarian assistance said the area was “hit pretty hard” but the agency has not yet completed an assessment.
Harden said the U.S. is offering $1 million in food assistance and $500,000 in non-foot items such as blankets, shelters and hygiene kits.
Western Hemisphere Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary Kenneth Merten said on the call that it is up to Haiti whether it will go ahead with planned national elections on Sunday. He said the U.S. interest is only that they have fair and credible elections and that they be held either on Sunday or the “not too distant future.”
Republished with permission of

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Matthew forces rerouting of cruise, research ships to Key West

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Several cruise ships are being rerouted from their regularly scheduled Caribbean and Bahamas ports to Key West. Key West is about 40 miles south of the portion of the Florida not currently under a tropical storm warning.
As Hurricane Matthew approaches the Bahamas, officials say nine Royal Bahamas Defence Force vessels have moored at Truman Harbor in Key West.
Naval Air Station Key West spokeswoman Trice Denny says a University of Miami Rosentiel School research ship called the Whalton Smith is expected to arrive in port in Key West on Wednesday.
Officials are also expecting the USNS Spearhead on Saturday, a 337-foot-long joint (Navy/Army) high-speed catamaran vessel, to be positioned in Key West for possible aid missions.
The slow-moving storm was expected to drench the coast from the Keys through central Florida, storm surge up to 5 feet deep was expected along the Atlantic coast, and the hurricane could produce tornadoes. Even if Matthew doesn’t come ashore, its tropical storm-force winds could reach the state.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott urged coastal residents to prepare for the possibility of a direct hit.
In his 5 a.m. analysis of the forecast models for Matthew’s track along the Atlantic coast, senior hurricane specialist Daniel Brown wrote, “Only a slight deviation to the west of forecast track could result in landfall in Florida.”
“We must prepare to be hit by a devastating hurricane,” Scott said.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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Gov. Scott cancels Cabinet meeting to monitor Matthew

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday warned boaters to start preparing for Hurricane Matthew, and Gov. Rick Scott announced plans to visit the state’s emergency operations centers along Florida’s east coast.
Scott canceled Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting to make the trip. He wants to make sure counties are prepared if the storm moves toward Florida, spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said. Scott signed an executive order on Monday declaring a state of emergency for every Florida county.
Matthew was a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph (220 kph) Monday evening, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. The hurricane was centered about 225 miles (360 kilometers) south of Port Au Prince, Haiti. The storm was moving north at 7 mph (11 kph). Matthew’s center will approach southwestern Haiti Monday night, move near eastern Cuba late Tuesday, and move near or over portions of the southeastern and central Bahamas Tuesday night and Wednesday, the center said.
Coast Guard officials set “port condition whiskey” for ports in southeastern Florida: Ports and facilities currently remain open to all commercial traffic, but all oceangoing vessels and barges greater than 500 gross tons should start making plans to leave the port, officials said in a news release.
Vessels seeking to stay in the port should contact the captain at each facility to receive permission, according to the release, which also warned pleasure boat owners to seek safe harbor.
In addition, the Coast Guard warned mariners to heed weather watches, warnings and small craft advisories and to monitor the progress of the storm through local TV, internet and radio.
Republished with permission of the Associated Press.
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