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What it’s like in Hurricane Matthew’s path

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(CNN)Hurricane Matthew, a “very dangerous” Category 4 storm, is expected to hit Florida early Friday. It will then turn north and head up the US coast.

CNN reporters are in areas under threat. Here’s what we’re seeing on the ground, beginning in the south of Florida and continuing north on the storm’s path.

Daytona Beach, Florida

    Daytona

    Conditions have deteriorated significantly in the last 24 hours. Bands of wind and rain keep getting stronger and stronger — this is just the very beginning.
    Most stores on the boardwalk have been boarded up; water is surging and coming up higher and higher on the pier.
    Daytona Beach’s no-nonsense police chief, Michael Chitwood, is out and about, warning those who haven’t left: “There will be a point where we can’t rescue you.”
    Daniel Myara of Crusin’ Cafe is boarding up, and staying put. He plans to stay open even though he’s only 150 yards from the beach. He’s lived in town for 25 years and knows this storm is going to be bad.
    But Myara said riding out the storm at his business and securing it is most important to protect it.
    “We’re going to try and hunker down here,” he said.
    Abdul owns a gas station in the area and is no stranger to dangerous situations. He survived war in Lebanon before coming to America 25 years ago.
    He’s ridden out storms in a back room of the gas station before. But not this time. This storm scares him too much. So he’s heading away from the gas station Thursday night to be with his family, safely away from the beach.
    “Mother Nature is very tough,” he said. “This is going to be like 1992 in Andrew … it doesn’t look good.”
    — CNN’s Sara Sidner

    Tony

    The mood has definitely shifted from a cautious, but spirited, optimism, to a sense of “we gotta get the hell out of here” panic since we arrived on Wednesday.
    The hotel and beaches in Daytona have since been abandoned.
    Tony Silcox arrived on Monday from Indianapolis with his girlfriend and her daughter to hunt for their retirement home. Silcox knew Matthew was coming, but thought it would stay at sea. He’s staying on the bottom floor of the Dream Inn.
    “I’m a little nervous,” he said. “A little scared.”
    As for provisions: “We have lunch meat, chips and beer,” he said.
    Silcox isn’t alone.
    Jeff Grady, who lives just across the street from the ocean, plans to stay. The 32-year-old chef said he’ll be riding it out in his second-floor apartment with eight or nine other people.
    — CNN’s Kevin Conlon and Boris Sanchez

    Jacksonville, Florida

    Yoegess

    At a BP gas station near the airport in Jacksonville, Florida, drivers fueled up as they made their way to saferground ahead of the storm. Manager Yoegess Patel said a steady stream of people has been gassing up all day.
    “We may close tomorrow night,” he said, adding that though he’s worried, he has no plans to board up the station.
    Some residents found refuge at the Salvation Army shelter downtown.

    Karen

    Many people here are following evacuation orders, but some have chosen to stay and ride it out as long as they can.
    Karen Kelly runs a bed and breakfast and is stocked with food. She is staying for now because she feeds several elderly residents with no cars, and she doesn’t want to leave them. Kelly said she may change her mind on Friday, based on the track of the storm.
    The mayor of Tybee is urging people to evacuate, even bringing in school buses to get residents out if they don’t have a car or place to go. But we only saw a handful of people get on the buses, which were headed for Augusta, Georgia.
    Storm surge predictors for a Category 2 to 3 storm in Tybee Island are 11 to 15 feet.
    — CNN’s Sara Ganim and Lawrence Crook

    Savannah, Georgia

    Empty

    The streets are mainly empty as remaining residents or business owners are boarding up or stocking up on supplies.
    Stores are running out of bottled water, and there are long lines at the gas station. Some businesses are open Thursday: a coffee shop, a bar down the street. But most of the places that are open will close Friday.
    Some locals are staying at the Tides Hotel on Folly Island because the building is reinforced with “hurricane-proof” windows.
    The island is low-lying, so the greatest concern at this point is the storm surge.
    — CNN’s Gregory Clary and Brian Todd

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/06/us/hurricane-matthew-florida-sc-georgia-reports/index.html

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