JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With much of Florida in the "Cone of Concern" with Hurricane Matthew, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is warning this storm is dangerous, life-threatening and must be taken seriously.
"This storm is dangerous," said Rubio. "Government at all levels must be ready to respond to both the impact here at home and abroad. My office stands ready to assist, but the single most important thing people can do right now is prepare and get their things in order."
Rubio sat down with Channel 4's Kent Justice at our television station this afternoon reiterating the importance for everyone, no matter how long you've lived in Florida, to be ready for whatever path Matthew ultimately takes.
"As Floridians, and I've grown up here, so those of us who have lived here before, we know what we need to do. Hopefully people are doing that right now, too -- taking it seriously." said Rubio. "Obviously it's Florida so for new Floridians it's not a time for panic, it's time to take some steps to be prepared."
Rubio told Kent that after the storm passes, people need to expect power outages, trouble accessing ATMs, even longer gas lines due to a disruption in getting supplies. He urges everyone to stock up their needed medications, a three-day supply of food and water and plan to evacuate if told to do so.
"If you're called to evacuate, you should heed those calls to evacuate. There's a reason you're in an evacuation zone and it's because first responders can't get to you if there's flooding in the area you’re in," Rubio warned.
The potential for storm surge is also a concern with Hurricane Matthew. Rubio tells Kent Justice he's encouraging residents of coastal communities to take a few minutes and understand the storm surge threat where they live.
"One thing I would encourage people to do is to go to the National Hurricane Center website. They have a new feature on storm surge and water. And what it allows people to do is literally look at their neighborhood, what is the risk of flooding given the current projection of the storm, so they can begin to make some decisions on that as well," Rubio said.
Because of Hurricane Matthew, Rubio says his regional Senate offices in Miami and Palm Beach were closing this afternoon so that his Florida staff members can make their own final preparations as Matthew approaches. However, he says his office is executing its contingency plan to make sure it is available to respond to constituents in need, including local and state officials.