Image: Getty

More than two million people in coastal Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina are being told to flee their homes in advance of Hurricane Matthew, the Category 4 monster now bearing down on the United States after wreaking havoc across the Caribbean. It’s easily the largest mass evacuation on US soil since Hurricane Sandy, and it’s likely to be Florida’s biggest evacuation ever.

As orders to evacuate or die came down over the past 24 hours, coastal residents filled up their tanks and took to the highways by the hundreds of thousands, aided by thousands of National Guard troops. Property owners scrambled to fortify their shops and homes using anything and everything they had, from aluminum storm shutters to fifty-pound sandbags. Hundreds of flights were canceled; grocery aisles were picked clean.

If you ever wondered what America might look like on the eve of the apocalypse, look no further than the nightmare hurricane that could render communities “uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

A Walmart in Kissimmee, Florida. Image: AP
Workers put up shutters at a strip mall in Miami. Image: AP
A truck fills up the empty tanks at a gasoline station in Hollywood, Florida. Image: AP
Shipowners place sandbags in front of their Daytona Beach store to protect against flooding. Image: AP
Workers put up Hurricane Shutters on a condo in Boynton Beach, Florida. Image: Getty
Two men place plywood over a window in Miami Beach. Image: Getty
Ticketing machines covered in plastic at of Palm Beach International Airport, where hundreds of flights were grounded today. Image: AP
Canceled flights at Palm Beach International Airport. Image: AP