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.