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

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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…

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

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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…

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At least 500K urged to evacuate as Matthew nears Florida

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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…

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

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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…

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Matthew forces rerouting of cruise, research ships to Key West

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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…

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Hurricane warning extended for Florida’s coast

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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…

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Evacuations underway in 2 Florida counties

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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…

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