Experts are warning that the worst of the Category 3 storm known as Hurricane Matthew is still to come, as the 120 mile winds slowly make their way up Florida's east coast.
The hurricane's eyewall is continuing to brush Florida's eastern coastline and making its way toward Jacksonville, according to The Daily Mail. While it's possible that the storm won't make direct contact with land, officials aren't taking any chances.
Gov. Rick Scott has already called for mass evacuation, saying that all interstates in Florida will be open without tolls so citizens can make an easier escape. So far, 600,000 people have been left without power and more than 22,000 are in shelters.
"The storm is only halfway through our state, so we are not through this yet," Scott said in a press conference, according to The Mail. "We are very concerned about storm surge and the worst effects are still likely to come."
"While the storm is still on, don't go outside," he added.
The New York Times reports that Matthew has already claimed the lives of at least 842 people in Haiti and it is unclear the extent of the damage if the storm was to hit Jacksonville. More than 860,000 live in the city itself and approximately 1.6 million live in the surrounding metropolitan area.
According to the Mail, one U.S. citizen has already died as first responders were not able to respond to her calls due to powerful wind gusts.
Gov. Scott warns that people will now have to "take care" of themselves as "I can't send in first responders to save you in the middle of the storm," according to CBS.
President Obama has declared a state of emergency in Florida as well as in Georgia and South Carolina, which are also feared to be endangered by this powerful storm. The National Guard has been activated and military units have been mobilized to brace for a possible natural disaster.
Matthew has been described as a "once-in-a-lifetime" storm and the Mail reports that it could be the most devastating hurricane to hit east and north Florida in 118 years.
“Pay attention to what your local officials are telling you," said President Obama, according to The Times. "If they tell you to evacuate, you need to get out of there and move to higher ground."