Publication Date October 6, 2016 | The New York Times

Hurricane Matthew Approaches Florida; Governor Urges 1.5 Million to Flee

United States

Taking aim at Central Florida’s Atlantic coast, Hurricane Matthew intensified Thursday into a Category 4 storm with winds of at least 140 miles per hour and strengthening. The storm was blamed for the deaths of more than 280 people in Haiti.

“Extremely dangerous, life-threatening weather conditions are forecast in the next 24 hours,” the National Weather Service warned Thursday afternoon. “Airborne debris lofted by extreme winds will be capable of breaching structures, unprotected windows and vehicles.”

Residents were streaming away from coastal regions, jamming highways, after Gov. Rick Scott of Florida told 1.5 million people living in evacuation zones: “You need to leave. Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.”

President Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida and South Carolina on Thursday, allowing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate relief efforts.

Mr. Scott activated 3,500 National Guard troops to help with evacuations and prepare for search-and-rescue operations