Florida governor declares State of Emergency as Hurricane Matthew takes slight shift west

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Governor Scott on Monday afternoon signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency for every Florida county due to the severity and magnitude of Hurricane Matthew.

There was a noticeable westward shift in the hurricane’s track Monday afternoon.

Hurricane Matthew is moving northward and is expected to bring life-threatening rain, wind and storm surge to Haiti. The powerful storm is expected to approach Jamaica and southwest Haiti by Monday night.

WFLA Storm Team 8 meteorologists say the dangerous Category 4 storm has top sustained winds of 140 mph.

“The 5PM update shifted the track of Matthew a bit west due to our models like the GFS & Euro trending west recently. The east coast of Florida will need to watch this very closely. For the Tampa Bay area, our impacts are still generally the same. Expect stronger NE winds on Wednesday and Thursday with much drier air moving in by the weekend. We are on the weaker and drier western side of the storm thankfully, so there would have to be MAJOR shifts in the forecast track to see larger impacts,” said WFLA Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Julie Philips.

The government of the Bahamas has issued a hurricane warning for the central Bahamas and a hurricane watch for the northwestern Bahamas.

A hurricane warning is also in effect for Jamaica, Haiti, and the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Granma and Las Tunas – as well as the southeastern Bahamas. A hurricane watch is in effect for the Cuban province of Camaguey, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Central Bahamas.

Florida Governor Rick Scott held a news conference Monday to update Florida residents about the storm.

“Our National Guard stands ready to be deployed if needed. I am also in contact with the utilities across the state and will stay in communication with them regarding their plans if there are any power outages. We are taking steps to move additional fuel to the state’s east coast. On the Florida Turnpike, we also have extra fuel trucks on standby to get anywhere in our state. Again, while we are preparing for the worst, we are hoping for the best and will not take any chances with a storm of this magnitude,” he said.