Florida has ordered evacuations for four counties, one of which is mandatory. Residents of barrier islands in Brevard County were given the mandatory evacuation order effective 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5. Lucie, Flagler and Duval counties are currently under voluntary evacuation orders.
The Florida Department of Transportation and the U.S. Coast Guard will lock down Intracoastal Waterway bridges along the eastern Florida coast prior to sustained winds of 40 mph. Intracoastal bridges in Palm Beach County will be locked down by 8 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Florida State Emergency Response Team website. Drawbridges along the Miami River and the Intracoastal Waterway in Miami-Dade County will be locked down beginning at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. For more information on Florida’s hurricane response visit FloridaDisaster.org.
In Georgia, the following counties have been issued a state of emergency: Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Charlton, Chatham, Effingham, Evans, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh and Wayne counties. The Georgia Department of Transportation is urging motorists to monitor weather and local government outlets and is discouraging travel to the coast on Friday and Saturday.
South Carolina coastal residents were ordered to evacuate on Tuesday, Oct. 4. The state’s Department of Transportation established evacuation routes. Several highways and interstates have installed lane reversals, including the following:
Hilton Head: One lane is reversed to create three lanes traveling west on U.S. 278 at the intersection of the Spanish Wells Drive and Moss Creek Village Drive. This reversal is approximately two miles in length.
Beaufort: U.S. 21 is reversed to create three lanes at U.S. 21 Business and continues until U.S. 17.
Charleston to Columbia: A full, four-lane reversal on I-26 in Charleston begins at the interchange of I-26 and I-526. The full reversal continues west until the I-26 crossover to I-77 just outside Columbia in Lexington County.
Port Canaveral has also been shut down during the storm. According to a news release, “no vessel traffic – including cruise and cargo ships, as well as recreational and commercial fishing boats – will be allowed in harbour until after the storm passes and the order is lifted.” The deadline to evacuate was noon on Wednesday, Oct. 5.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency for 66 counties in the state. According to the governor’s website, truck size/weight and hours-of-service restrictions have been waived during the evacuation. Click here for the North Carolina evacuation route map.
Hurricane Matthew weakened to a Category 3 storm from a Category 4 after reaching land in Haiti and Cuba earlier this week. However, the warm waters in the Bahamas are fuelling the storm and could potentially strengthen the storm back to a Category 4 by the time it reaches Florida. Although the exact path is unpredictable as of press time, the hurricane is expected to reach near the Florida coast sometime Thursday, Oct. 6.