As reports about the devastation from Hurricane Matthew flood in, no pun intended, we can’t help feel concern for our neighbors on the southeastern coast of the United States. In North Dakota, on the plains, we have wind all the time. People from out of state visit and comment about the constant wind. And we do get occasional tornadoes. But after watching videos of the hurricane, my knees went weak, and I can’t imagine what it would be like to pick up my six-year-0ld and truck away from the coast, worrying about her fear, while trying to figure out what to take and what to leave behind. I can see why there are many people who are tempted to stay in their homes and ride out the storm, because evacuating is scary and overwhelming. But after watching this Washington Post video showing the hurricane rip the roof off a house, it’s no question that choosing not to evacuate is a big mistake.
Gov. Rick Scott warned Florida residents in Matthew’s path to evacuate to avoid the 100 to 150 mile per hour winds. Despite noting how lucky Florida was that it didn’t receive a direct hit, Scott still recommended evacuation.
We’re going to see a lot more storm surge than we’ve seen in the southern part of the state so that’s my biggest concern right now,” Scott added. “If you’re in the Jacksonville area, you still have about an hour to evacuate, so do it if you have a chance to evacuate. I don’t want anybody to be around the storm surge.”
ABC News reported that 3.1 million people were urged to evacuate in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Approximately 600,000 people in Florida are currently without power, and schools and homeless shelters were overwhelmed by the numbers of people seeking help. Even though the storm has passed through, Scott said, “This is not over.”
The storm is expected to continue on a coastal path, hitting Jacksonville early Friday afternoon, Savannah on Saturday, and then slowly head back out to sea Sunday with winds at 75 miles per hour or less. Matthew is the strongest storm to hit the east coast in over ten years. Hurricane Sandy caused 147 deaths in October of 2012 , the devastation from Hurricane Katrina still reverberates ten years later in the South, and I’m certain plenty of Floridians still remember Hurricane Andrew in 1992. So be on the watch for Matthew. Take cover, be safe and don’t take chances.