Hurricane Matthew roared into the Bahamas early Thursday as it continued its march toward the Southeastern United States, where authorities in states readying for the storm’s devastating combination of winds and rain declared emergencies and urged about 2 million people to evacuate.
The hurricane remained a powerful Category 3 storm but its sustained winds strengthened overnight from 115 mph to 125 mph. Forecasters warned that it could once again become a Category 4 storm as it neared Florida’s Atlantic Coast and that could lead to “life-threatening” situations.
As of 5 a.m., the hurricane was about 255 miles southeast of West Palm Beach, according to the National Hurricane Center.
“The eye of Matthew should pass near Andros Island and New Providence in the northwestern Bahamas early this morning, then pass near Grand Bahama Island late today, and move very close to the east coast of the Florida peninsula tonight through Friday night,” the center said.
After Matthew pummeled Haiti on Tuesday — causing at least 10 deaths there and six more in the Dominican Republic and other parts of the Caribbean, officials said, with the full toll still unknown — it weakened slightly.
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