MIAMI (AP) — The Latest on Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Nicole (all times local):
6:30 a.m. – South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is about to make a final decision on evacuation orders.
Haley said Tuesday afternoon she planned to order the evacuation of 1 million people along the coast ahead of Hurricane Matthew so those leaving can do so safely.
Haley expects to announce her decision at 9 a.m. Wednesday based on the latest information about the storm. The latest projected path of the storm Wednesday morning had moved a bit farther away from the coast.
The governor said an evacuation order would take effect at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
State officials say lanes on major evacuation routes will be reversed so that all lanes head west. It would be the first major evacuation since Hurricane Floyd in 1999, when the governor at the time didn’t reverse the lanes and traffic clogged.
5 a.m. – Forecasters say strong winds, heavy rains and a dangerous storm surge are starting to spread over the Bahamas as Hurricane Matthew approaches.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the powerful Category 3 hurricane was centered at 5 a.m. EDT Wednesday about 65 miles (110 kilometers) north-northwest of the eastern tip of Cuba. The eye was also located about 155 miles (250 kilometers) south-southeast of the Bahamas’ Long Island.
The storm is packing top sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kph) and is moving to the north at 10 mph (17 kph) with some strengthening is forecast in coming days. Forecasters say the hurricane will cross the Bahamas through Thursday and be very near Florida’s Atlantic coast by Thursday evening.
2 a.m. – Forecasters say the eye of powerful Hurricane Matthew has now moved north of eastern Cuba.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Matthew is currently a Category 3 hurricane packing winds of 125 mph (205 kph) and is centered about 35 miles (60 kilometers) north-northwest of the eastern tip of Cuba.
Matthew is moving toward the north at about 8 mph (13 kph) and a turn toward the north-northwest is expected later Wednesday. It is also about 80 miles (130 kilometers) west-southwest of the Bahamas’ Great Inagua Island.
The hurricane center says that Matthew will be moving across the Bahamas through Thursday and is expected to be very near Florida’s Atlantic coast by Thursday evening.
Forecasters say that while winds have decreased a bit, some fluctuations in Matthew’s intensity are expected but that it remains a powerful and dangerous storm.
11 p.m. – The eye of Hurricane Matthew has moved off the northeastern coast of Cuba and forecasters have expanded the hurricane warning area in Florida.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the Category 4 storm’s maximum sustained winds have decreased to 130 mph (215 kph) but it is expected to maintain strength through at least Thursday night. Matthew is moving north at 8 mph (13 kph).
Forecasters expect Matthew to move through the Bahamas on Thursday and be very near Florida’s east coast by that evening.
The center upgraded hurricane watches from Golden Beach to Sebastian Inlet and for Lake Okeechobee to hurricane warnings. The hurricane watch area has been extended north to the Flagler-Volusia county line.