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Florida issues evacuation orders ahead of possible Hurricane Matthew impact

HurricaneMatthew is moving over the Bahamas and is forecast to approach theeast coast of Florida, according to updates from the National Hurricane Center.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has begun ordering voluntary evacuationsfor certain counties on the eastern coast of the state, with mandatoryevacuations for the barrier islands in Brevard County, according to a statenews release. The state National Guard was activated Oct. 3.

"There is absolutely no reason not to evacuate, andthere is shelter available for anyone in our state," Scott said in astatement.

More hurricane warnings have been issued in Florida,including north of Golden Beach to the Flagler and Volusia county line and LakeOkeechobee, as of the National Hurricane Center's 2 p.m. ET public advisory.

About 8.25 million people could be affected by power outagesif the storm tracks along the Atlantic coast, according to research developedby several state universities and presented by Guikema Research Group. Morethan 50% of the Miami area is expected to lose power as a result of the storm,according to the estimatesas of the morning of Oct. 5.

The storm has weakened somewhat to a Category 3 storm,according to the 2 p.m. advisory. It impacted parts of Haiti and Cuba on Oct. 4as a Category 4. The storm is moving into conditions favorable for furtherstrengthening and could be a Category 4 with maximum sustained winds of 130 mphas it nears Florida, according to the 11 a.m. ET forecastdiscussion.