Florida Has Been Declared A State Of Emergency Due To Hurricane Matthew

Ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, President Obama has declared a state of emergency in Florida. The tropical storm has strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 140 mph. Obama's declaration of a state of emergency will allow federal funds as well as assistance to be dispatched to Florida to help with damages.

The storm has already caused more than 100 deaths in the Caribbean, according to Reuters, and is headed toward Florida and up the East Coast, expecting to hit land late Thursday. In preparation, 2 million U.S. residents have been warned to evacuated their homes. It's the most powerful storm the United States has seen in decades, and officials are taking every precaution they can so that citizens are not put in harm's way.

Throughout the South, numerous governors have declared states of emergency, including Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina. Florida Gov. Rick Scott impressed the seriousness of the danger upon residents when he said at a press conference, "This storm will kill you," and ordered certain counties to evacuate. "Are you willing to take a chance to risk your life? Are you willing to take a gamble?" he said. "That's what you're doing. If you're reluctant to evacuate, just think of all the people the storm has already killed. You and your family could be among these numbers if you don't take this seriously." A harsh warning, but appropriate for the level of danger southern residents face with this storm.

CBS outlined some precautionary steps southern residents can take ahead of storms to try to keep their homes from danger. They advise to board windows, shut and lock shutters, unplug sensitive electronics, place outdoor furniture and appliances into a protected or covered area, make a list of property, back up digital records including photos and videos ahead of time, store important documents in a fire and waterproof safe, and prepare an emergency kit. While Hurricane Matthew has reached a level of danger where most residents should evacuate immediately, these tips may be helpful for those in less directly impacted places. Southern residents should also look into hurricane insurance for their homes and learn how to file a claim, especially around hurricane season.

Overall, residents in the storm's path should exercise extreme caution and listen to the recommendations of officials in their area. Storms of this strength are no joke, and it's not worth taking the chance of something bad happening by disregarding warnings.