Hurricane Matthew continued its march toward Florida last night, slowing a little but not really changing its path.
It now appears the storm will arrive in the area late Thursday with 130 mph winds, according to the 5 a.m. forecast from the National Hurricane Center, though rainfall from outer bands has already begun. According to the center:
"A northwestward turn is expected to occur today as the ridge to the north of Matthew builds westward. This should steer the hurricane through the Bahamas and near the east coast of Florida during the next 48 hours."
The warning extending west to Lake Okeechobee is one of the most frightening parts of the outlook. The lake is very full, and dikes are famously weak. All Broward and Palm Beach remain under a hurricane warning. Dade is on a watch.
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Publix stores were jammed last night, and many ran out of water, batteries, and other basic supplies.
Gov. Rick Scott issued a state of emergency in all of Florida's 67 counties, and the AAA issued a warning to avoid driving. The two best pieces of advice from the AAA warning:
1) If you can’t see the edges of the road or other vehicles at a safe distance while driving during wet weather, pull off the road as far as you can and wait for the rain to ease up. Make sure to turn on emergency flashers to alert other drivers.
2) Avoid standing water and flooded roads at all times. There is no way to tell how deep standing water is on a flooded road, and driving through it can cause a vehicle to stall and result in severe damage to the vehicle from flooding the engine, warping brake rotors, loss of power steering, or a short in electrical components.