SOURCES: Federal Emergency Management Agency; U.S. National Hurricane Center; U.S. National Weather Service; CNN; Associated Press
THURSDAY, Oct. 6, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- After pummeling the Caribbean and the Bahamas, Hurricane Matthew barrelled toward the east coast of Florida Thursday, as millions of residents were told to evacuate in advance of the dangerous storm's arrival.
More than 2 million people have been urged by authorities to leave their homes in coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
If the latest projections hold, Matthew could make landfall in central or south Florida late Thursday or early Friday as a Category 4 hurricane, CNN reported. It could also skirt the coast as it continues north.
The exact path that the hurricane will take as it edges closer to Florida isn't yet clear. But the sheer size of the storm has prompted people to stock up on water, food, gas and other supplies, the Associated Press reported.
Matthew is generating sustained winds of up to 140 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.
"The time to prepare is now. Residents in potentially affected areas should learn their evacuation routes and monitor weather conditions," said W. Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "Storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly.
"Follow instructions of state, local and tribal officials, and make sure you're taking steps to prepare your home, family or business," Fugate said in an agency statement.
In advance of Matthew's arrival, FEMA offers these safety tips:
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more tips on preparing for a hurricane.