Obama declares state of emergency as Hurricane Matthew predictions grow even scarier

President Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida, as predictions for Hurricane Matthew’s impact on the state continued to grow more severe Thursday afternoon.

Matthew was already poised to be a historically dangerous storm. Then, at 2 pm, the National Hurricane Center bulletin upgraded the storm surge warning for parts of the state to a catastrophic seven to 11 feet. That is an extremely rare, high, and powerful wall of water headed for Florida’s coasts and rivers.

This map, released earlier today when predictions topped out at “only” six to nine feet, shows areas in danger of flooding with water deep enough to crest above Shaquille O’Neal’s head:

 Here’s a look at the storm from the National Hurricane Center’s latest update:

Obama’s declaration will release federal aid to local, state, and tribal response efforts to the storm, which should make landfall as a Category-4 or Category-5 monster. Wind speeds are currently 140 miles per hour, far beyond what many structures are built to withstand.

Much of Florida is under an evacuation order, and Governor Rick Scott has urged residents in impacted areas to flee.

NOW WATCH: ‘This storm will kill you’ — Florida governor urges residents to evacuate as Hurricane Matthew strengthens

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