>> If Matthew directly impacts Florida there will be massive destruction that we haven't seen in years.>> Florida residents bracing for what could be a catastrophic blow from Hurricane Matthew. Potentially the biggest storm to hit the state since 2005. The Category 3 monster has already ravaged the Caribbean.
Battering the Bahamas on Wednesday with winds as high as 120 mph. Matthew is expected to hit the southeastern coast of the US as early as Thursday. Governor Rick Scott warning of powerful gusts that could be felt far inland. And ordering large-scale evacuations he said might affect a record number of people.
>> I've spoken to all 67 Florida counties. Have stressed to them the importance of getting their evacuation plans ready now.>> Reuters' Gabriel Stargardter is in Miami.>> People are here are definitely preparing for the storm. I went to a gas station earlier and the guy who runs the place said that he's going to be running out of fuel.
He's not going to get another shipment until Saturday because the port is closing. There's already long lines forming outside of the gas station. Then in the super markets they tell me there they're doing about three times the normal business that they would on a normal day. People buying a lot of food.
People expecting that they're gonna be stuck in their homes for a few days. At the moment it looks like the storm is headed definitely for Florida. The question is whether it's gonna hit southern Florida or just go up the eastern seaboard.>> Preparations for Matthew's wrath reaching as far north as South Carolina.
Governor Nikki Haley ordering the evacuation of Charleston, the state's second largest city. And closing lanes of a major interstate so traffic could only flow in one direction. Officials warning that even though the hurricane was downgraded to Category 3, storm could pick up steam as it heads towards the Florida coast.