As powerful Hurricane Matthew barrels toward Florida with winds of 220-kilometres an hour, former Trenton resident Danielle Hadlington says she is hunkered down in Fort Lauderdale preparing to weather the Category 4 storm.
Matthew has killed 108 people in the Caribbean, decimating Haiti and slicing through Cuba and the Bahamas.
Florida Governor Rick Scott is urging people in coastal areas to get out before the storm hits Thursday night.
Twenty-eight-year old Hadlington who now lives in the Bahamas said she and her boyfriend fled Nassau on Monday by boat. She said it was incredibly bumpy with moderate swells, adding they left at the best time as the storm hadn’t hit yet.
Hadlington described an uncertain and unsettling environment in Fort Lauderdale about 85 kilometres south of West Palm Beach where residents are evacuating.
She admitted they are preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.
She admitted it feels like she is many miles away from home and friends as she watches what’s happening on the television and through social media.
Katrina Howell who lives in Palm Beach echoed Hadlington’s sentiments on the need to be prepared. The former Cobourg resident described the situation to Sean Kelly and Orlena Cain of the Mix Morning Crew Thursday morning.
Around 1 p.m. officials confirmed the death toll in Haiti from Hurricane Matthew has risen to at least 108.
Interior Minister Francois Anick Joseph announced the figure in the capital on Thursday as authorities and aid workers work to gauge the extent of the deaths and damage in the impoverished country.
Details on the deaths were not immediate available.
Previously, officials said there had been at least 23 deaths from the storm in Haiti. There were also 4 people killed in the neighbouring Dominican Republic, one in Colombia and one in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Hurricane Matthew roared across the tip of the peninsula on Tuesday but authorities have struggled to reach people in the most remote areas including around the town of Jeremie and throughout the Grande Anse area.
Meanwhile, officials at Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld say they’ll be shutting down until the storm passes.
Disney officials said on the company’s website Thursday afternoon that theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, the miniature golf course and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex would close at 5 p.m. The theme park will remain closed through Friday.
Alyson Lundell is director of public relations for Universal Orlando. She said in a statement that Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Citywalk would close at 5 p.m. and remain closed on Friday.
Earlier Thursday, SeaWorld announced on its website that the park would close at 2 p.m. and remain closed on Friday.