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Hurricane Matthew Complacency Worries South Florida Officials

Image: Hurricane Matthew Complacency Worries South Florida Officials

Coconut trees swirl during the passage of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

By    |   Wednesday, 05 Oct 2016 10:36 AM

South Florida officials are worried about complacency among residents, visitors and businesses as potentially-devastating Hurricane Matthews gets closer. They're hoping to avoid a repeat of Hurricane Wilma and Katrina — two storms that caused major damage to South Florida in 2005.

On Wednesday, Walt Disney World announced on its website that its theme parks and resorts are “currently operating under normal conditions” as the storm is being monitored, and advised those who plan to visit Disney to do the same, according to The Associated Press.

Orlando Sea World officials said on their website that they “anticipate altered hours due to Hurricane Matthew.”

That almost-business-as-usual temperament apparently isn't enough for South Florida officials who said they would like to see more of a sense of urgency from people living and working in Florida, especially in the southern part of the state.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned Florida residents to be prepared to evacuate, as they could take a direct hit from Matthew, said San Francisco Gate.

“Don’t take a chance. Leave before it’s too late,” he said. “We have to be prepared to be hit by a catastrophic hurricane.”

Meanwhile Hurricane Matthew, now a Category 3 storm, was traveling with winds of 115 mph across the southern part of the Bahamas early Wednesday. It’s expected to hit Florida’s Atlantic coast by Thursday evening, the AP noted.

South Florida hasn’t seen a major hurricane in more than 10 years and Hurricane Matthew is still being treated as a tropical storm warning, where even in Miami-Dade County, the state’s largest school district, people seem too complacent.

School officials said they would monitor on Wednesday and then make a decision on cancelling classes Thursday and Friday.

Unlike in South Florida, where hurricane warnings have just started to surface, warnings were already in full effect in northern Florida cities. In fact, from Broward County to the Space Coast, officials have already closed schools for the remainder of the week, and some schools were sending students home early Wednesday and canceling after school activities, according to San Francisco Gate.

Most of the northern area colleges and universities have also been cancelled for Wednesday evening and beyond.

Forecasters are doing their part, as they’ve issued hurricane warnings and watches.  Miami forecasters issued a hurricane warning for the area north of Golden Beach near Fort Lauderdale to Sebastian Inlet and a hurricane watch is also in effect from Sebastian Inlet to Fernandina Beach.

The watches and warning were starting to get more attention and action. South Florida stores were more packed than usual on Tuesday.

Near Fort Lauderdale, a Home Depot ran out of propane gas and supplies of batteries were dwindling. People were starting to buy plywood and tarps to cover windows and outdoor furniture. There was a run on coolers for food storage.

“I got scared because all that was left at Publix was just the pricey water,” said Simone Corrado, a Florida resident who lived through 1992’s catastrophic Hurricane Andrew. “They really put the fear into you here. On the television screen every few minutes is the ‘beep, beep, beep’ storm alert.”

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South Florida officials are worried about complacency among residents, visitors and businesses as potentially-devastating Hurricane Matthews gets closer. They're hoping to avoid a repeat of Hurricane Wilma and Katrina — two storms that caused major damage to South Florida in 2005.
hurricane matthew, complacency, south, florida
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2016-36-05
Wednesday, 05 Oct 2016 10:36 AM
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