Mil­lions hun­ker down in Fla.

Baltimore Sun - - HURRICANE MATTHEW - The Wash­ing­ton Post and Mi­ami Herald con­trib­uted.

Fore­cast­ers said Matthew could dump up to 15 inches of rain in some spots and cause a storm surge of 9 feet or more.

“A lot of com­mu­ni­ties are go­ing to be un­der­wa­ter if pre­dic­tions are cor­rect,” said Colorado State Univer­sity me­te­o­rol­o­gist Phil Klotzbach.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama de­clared a state of emer­gency for Florida and South Carolina, free­ing up fed­eral money and per­son­nel to pro­tect lives and prop­erty.

The Pen­tagon sig­naled it was pre­par­ing for a po­ten­tially sprawl­ing ef­fort to as­sist Amer­i­cans af­ter Matthew hits, estab­lish­ing four mil­i­tary bases — Fort Bragg in North Carolina, North Aux­il­iary Air­field in South Carolina, Marine Corps Lo­gis­tics Base Albany in Geor- ously enough,” Scott said. “I don’t want peo­ple to lose their life.”

At the Kennedy Space Cen­ter in Cape Canaveral, NASAno­longer has to worry about rolling shut­tles back from the launch pad to the han­gar be­cause of hur­ri­canes be­cause the shut­tles have been re­tired. But pri­vate space­flight com­pany SpaceX was con­cerned about the storm’s ef­fect on its leased sea­side pad.

The last Cat­e­gory 3 storm or higher to hit the coun­try was Wilma in Oc­to­ber 2005. It sliced across Florida with 120 mph winds, killing five and caus­ing $21 bil­lion in dam­age.

As peo­ple hur­ried to higher ground, au­thor­i­ties in South Carolina said a mo­torist died Wed­nes­day af­ter be­ing shot by deputies in a gun­bat­tle that erupted when he sped away from a check­point along a storm evac­u­a­tion route.

In Haiti, officials said 283 peo­ple died. Many towns were cut off by the storm and the mag­ni­tude of the dis­as­ter was just be­gin­ning to come into fo­cus.

There were four peo­ple killed in neigh­bor­ing Do­mini­can Repub­lic, one in Colom­bia and one in St. Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines.

In the Ba­hamas, au­thor­i­ties re­ported ex­ten­sive flood­ing but no deaths. The Ba­hamas Na­tional Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency said au­thor­i­ties res­cued 30 peo­ple who were trapped in their homes on the is­land of New Prov­i­dence.

JOE BURBANK/ORLANDO SENTINEL

The first outer bands of rain from Matthew pass over Orlando, Fla. The Cat­e­gory 4 storm may make land­fall early Fri­day.

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