Florida Gov. Rick Scott is warning residents to "prepare for a direct hit" from Hurricane Matthew, expected to arrive on the US coast as soon as Thursday. The "extremely dangerous" storm crossed Haiti and Cuba on Tuesday, killing seven people, and is expected to hit the Bahamas on Wednesday, reports CNN. Experts—who say the storm's path could change at any moment—predict it will make landfall on the Atlantic coast of Florida on Thursday evening before moving up the coast to the Carolinas over the weekend. "If Matthew directly impacts Florida, there will be massive destruction that we haven't seen in years," says Scott.
Hurricane models differ on where the Category 4 storm is likely to hit first, but at least one shows the Kennedy Space Center may be at risk with wind gusts up to 130mph, reports Ars Technica. Scott has told residents to stock up on gas, food, and generators—or flee as soon as possible. Elsewhere, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency in 13 counties, while medical evacuations began in South Carolina on Tuesday. They are to be followed by coastal evacuations on Wednesday. North Carolina’s seashore islands will also be evacuated beginning Wednesday as the state prepares for power outages and flooding, per CBS News. (Read more hurricane stories.)