Photo via Orange County Government
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs
called on residents Thursday morning to get off the roads by 6 p.m. and stay at home until the worst of Hurricane Matthew has passed.
The hurricane, which has strengthened to a Category 4 storm
again, is set hit Florida's East coast in the hours between Thursday and Friday. As of 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jacobs declared a local state of emergency that allows the county to access additional resources to deal with Hurricane Matthew. The county says in a statement that it's currently preparing for the "potential of hurricane-force winds, in excess of 74 miles per hour, with gusts up to 90 miles per hour between late Thursday night, and all day Friday." East Orange County is anticipated to experience tropical storm winds for more than 24 hours.
"We're ready; we're doing our part," Jacobs says. "We're here for you throughout the storm and the days following the storm. We urge you to make sure that you're prepared. Protect your families."
County officials are encouraging mobile home residents, especially people in East Orange County, to evacuate to a nearby shelter
, which open at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6. Residents who need assistance booking hotel accommodations can call 407-354-5555, and someone will assist them in finding a vacancy. Lynx buses will also be off the roads by 5 p.m. on Thursday and continue through Friday.
Jacobs says county officials are also reaching out to homeless people to make them aware of the storm and provide transportation to a shelter.