Florida officials monitoring, preparing for possible threat of Hurricane Matthew

Terra Satellite pass of Matthew as it turns north toward Jamaica, Haiti and  Cuba. (Courtesy NHC)

Governor Rick Scott said Floridians should not take the threat of Hurricane Matthew lightly.

"This storm is catastrophic, and if it hits our state, we could see impacts that we have not seen in many years," Scott said in a statement on Sunday.

A small westward shift in Matthew's long term track would significantly increase risk to Florida.

Latest: Gov. Scott declares state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Hermine

"Even though the storm’s projected path is just east of our state, no one should take this lightly. Storms change fast and Hurricane Matthew could hit Florida as early as Wednesday," he said.

Scott is being briefed on the storm's developments and the state is holding calls twice a day about resources to prepare for and respond to Matthew if needed.

He said no evacuations have been issued for Florida, but that could change quickly.

Hurricane Matthew updates: Slow, dangerous storm has islands in path

Scott is asking people to have a plan and prepare this weekend for any impacts the storm may bring.

He said families should have three days of food and water, flashlights, batteries and a battery-powered radio just in case.

The Category 4 hurricane is currently over the Caribbean and is expected to bring life-threatening rainfall to portions of Haiti.

It has already caused at least one death when a 16-year-old boy was crushed by a boulder as he tried to clear a blocked drain.

“It’s a very dangerous storm and life threatening," Scott said in a statement. "We haven’t seen a storm of this magnitude approach our state in a very long time."

He said even if the storm does not directly hit Florida, people should prepare for strong winds, rip currents and beach erosion along the east coast.

He is urging families to have a response plan or prepare one now on FLGetAPlan.com.

STAY INFORMED: Tropics, heavy rain alerts with our free weather app

Scott's full statement:

“This is a serious and life threatening storm. I was just briefed on the developments of Hurricane Matthew as it moves through the Caribbean Sea. I also just spoke with county emergency management officials who are working in our local communities to ensure our state is prepared for the potential impacts of this major hurricane. This storm is catastrophic, and if it hits our state, we could see impacts that we have not seen in many years. Even though the storm’s projected path is just east of our state, no one should take this lightly. Storms change fast and Hurricane Matthew could hit Florida as early as Wednesday. At this time, there have been no evacuations ordered in Florida, but that could change quickly. Please stay alert and watch your local news and listen to your local officials for protective actions and emergency messages. I urge everyone to visit FLGetAPlan.com to get prepared before the weekend is over. Make sure to have three days of food and water, flashlights, batteries and a battery powered radio.”

TALKING THE TROPICS: A very, very erratic Matthew should straighten out