Western New Yorkers living in Florida describe Hurricane Matthew preparations

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Hurricane Matthew has killed at least 26 people in the country of Haiti. The storm also left a path of destruction as it creeps towards the United States. The State of Florida is bracing for the worst no matter the outcome. News 4 spoke to two Western New Yorkers about what they’re seeing first hand.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said, “Regardless if there is a direct hit or not, the impacts will be devastating. I cannot emphasize this enough that everyone in our state but prepare for a direct hit.”

Right now Hurricane Matthew is slowly making its way towards mainland at a speed of roughly 10 miles an hour. But it packs a punch with windspeeds of more than 100 miles an hour.

Matthew left a trail of destruction in Haiti and Cuba, killing more than two-dozen people.

Governor Scott said, “We will likely start to see the impacts on our state within the next 24 hours and last through the weekend. This is a slow moving storm. We have less than 24 hours to prepare, evacuate, and shelter.”

Matthew is causing a mass exodus in states like South Carolina. Further south down the coastline, in Jacksonville, Florida, there’s a rush for gas as drivers get in long lines.

Bob Calamita is originally from Buffalo, he now lives in Jacksonville, he said, “The gas stations are having some problems today, I gassed up yesterday and people kinda of waiting until the last day. some of the gas stations are running out of fuel.”

Mike Materna is originally from Olean, he now lives in Daytona Beach. Materna said, “Around here, people are getting sandbags, I was at the grocery store at Publix a little while ago – everybody is out of everything this is going to be an experience for me.”

The State of Florida has activated members of the National Guard,and suspended all tolls on highways throughout the state. Officials are urging residents to evacuate early, and to have at least 3 days of food and water.

Calamita said, “You just pray that it doesn’t come left, that it doesn’t come into Florida, and you pray it goes right and it goes out into the coast, but it is what it is right now.”

The hurricane is expected to impact Southern Florida by Thursday afternoon.

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