Governor Rick Scott said he is not ruling out a direct hit by Hurricane Matthew and is urging Floridians to prepare for possible evacuations and catastrophic damage.
He urged Floridians to know their evacuation routes at a briefing in Nassau County on Monday.
"If Matthew directly impacts Florida, there will be massive destruction we haven't seen in years," Scott said. "It's very difficult to project exactly where these hurricanes will go, and very difficult to project the size of these hurricanes."
Shelters are expected to open in the next 24 hours, Scott said.
He is urging people not to take any chances and prepare everything they can now.
Scott said Florida Highway Patrol is in touch with local law enforcement to help with evacuations if necessary.
He wants all Floridians to have an evacuation plan by the end of Tuesday.
He said people should not ignore evacuation efforts because first responders cannot be put at risk.
He has activated 200 National Guard members across the state and will activate 300 more tomorrow.
They will be focused on search and rescue efforts if needed and assisting any counties in need.
Scott said he has also been in touch with the fuel industry and is working to ensure there will be no gas outages.
He said the I-95 corridor of Florida is still the main focus.
Beach erosion, hurricane-force winds and heavy rain are among the biggest concerns from the storm.
Cox Media Group