Calm Before The Storm: I-4 traffic heavy from Daytona Beach area with Hurricane Matthew lurking

I-4 traffic bumper-to-bumper leaving Daytona Beach, Fla, in advance of Hurricane Matthew / Headline SurferPhotos for Headline Surfer / Above, A lone woman  is shown walking on the World's Most Famous Beach at dusk Thursday in Daytona. At left, traffic was builfing up on I-4 heading west in the afternoon as coastal-area residents were heeding warnings to leave with massive stornm surges expected from Hurricane Matthew exprected to wreak havoc early Friday.
YouTube video download / Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a strong warning to residents Thursday telling anyone who lives in the warning zone for Hurricane Matthew to get out.
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- It's the proverbial calm before the storm here in Central Florida, but there's also that uneasy feeling among locals who chose not to join others in bumper-to-bumper traffic leaving the greater daytona Daytona Beach area heading west on Interstate 4 with Hurricane Matthew lurking on this Thursday evening with storm surges of 11 feet and higher up to the Intracvoastal Waterway by sunrise. 

Speaking at a press conference earlier in the day, Gov. Rick Scott Scott said his administration is "planning for the worst, hoping for the best, but we're not going to take a chance."

The governor didn't mince words for those not heeding the warnings to evacuate.

"This is going to kill people," Scott said of Hurricane Matthew, reiteraing again the need to pack up essentials and leave barrier islands and low-lying areas in what he and metorolists with the National Weather Service have called a "life-threatening storm.

The governor suggested residents who decide to stay in their homes along Florida's Atlantic coastline to have at least a three-day supply of food, water and medicine and to kreep cell phones charged.

For surfing dredevils or the curious looking to check out the swollen rolling waves, Scott reiterated the end result could be loss of life.

 "Do not surf," the governor insisted. "Do not go on the beach. This will kill you."

Scott said Floridians along the coastal communities coastline could and should expect to lose power, "possibly for a long period of time."

"We don't know exactly where this storm's going," Scott said. "Don't trust this track."

The National Weather Service said that the winds from this hurricane could well exceed those of the three large storms that pummeled the state in 2004. Waves from the storm could reach up  to 18 feet as well, and residents should expect severe coastal surging.

Noting the traffic build-up on I-4, Orlando resident Vernon Moore suggested people consider corporate versus family interests as to whether to stay at work or to focus on family and even consider joining the vehicle caravan away from the cataclysm that Matthew could bring. "If your employer has a corporate headquarters outside of Florida and they are telling you to stay at work and you stay -- you are making them a priority while they have always considered you an option," Moore said. "Go Home to your family!"

Vernon Moore of Orlando suggests making family a priority over work as Hurricane Matthew continues moving closer to Florida / Headline SurferNoting the trafficbuild-up on I-4, Deltona resident Vernon Moore, shown here, suggested people consider corporate versus family interests as to whether to stay at work or to focus on family and even consider joining the vehicle caravan away from the cataclysm that Matthew could bring. 

"If your employer has a corporate headquarters outside of Florida and they are telling you to stay at work and you stay -- you are making them a priority while they have always considered you an option," Moore said. "Go Home to your family!"

Orlando's Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and LEGOLAND are all closed at least through Friday, Fox35 in Orlando reported. Holloween Horror Nights will also be closed on Thursday and Friday night.

Mandatory evacuation orders enacted Wednesday night for Volusia County's beachside communities and low-lying areas also have gone into effect for Brevard County's Merritt Island and coastal areas of Flagler and St. Johns counties.

Voluntary evacuations are currently in place for parts of numerous other counties; the Florida Division of Emergency Management has a complete list. In total, about 1.5 million Floridians have been ordered or urged to move away from the coast, Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz told the Associated Press.

The governor's office announced Wednesday that all tolls would be lifted on roadways necessary for evacuation, and also announced that state offices would be closed Thursday and Friday in 26 counties expected to bear the brunt of the storm's fury.

Today could be especially dangerous. This morning, as Hurricane Matthew approaches, Florida Governor Rick Scott warned, “do not surf. Do not go to the beach.” But at least 200 people are out at South Beach right now — as evidenced by the Surfline Cam — are not heeding the warning. 

Jim Cameron of the Daytona Beach Chamber of Commerce reported he and former County Chair Frank Bruno and Debbie Workman Somerford the Volusia County Emergency Operations Center. "This facility is amazing with more than 200 people here tonight and many will stay on-board non-stop until Saturday afternoon," Cameron said. "While the county's emergency management team is coordinating efforts with state and federal agencies, the Chamber is helping coordinate recovery activities with local businesses. The mood here is encouraging with a spirit of "we shall get through this together." Cameron added that will the winds are predicted to diiminish late Friday, "the long recovery will begin soon afterwards and the Chamber is ready to do its part in getting local businesses operational again."

Jim Cameron of the Daytona Beach Chamber of Commerce reported he and former County Chair Frank Bruno and Debbie Workman Somerford the Volusia County Emergency Operations Center. 

"This facility is amazing with more than 200 people here tonight and many will stay on-board non-stop until Saturday afternoon," Cameron said. "While the county's emergency management team is coordinating efforts with state and federal agencies, the Chamber is helping coordinate recovery activities with local businesses. The mood here is encouraging with a spirit of "we shall get through this together." 

Cameron added that will the winds are predicted to diiminish late Friday, "the long recovery will begin soon afterwards and the Chamber is ready to do its part in getting local businesses operational again."

The Dunlawton Bridge closed at 10:30 p.m., Port Orange officials reported.

 

Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.