As Hurricane Matthew barreled up the Caribbean Wednesday, people along the Atlantic coast from Florida to South Carolina prepared to move to safer ground, as officials warned that hundreds of thousands had a duty to evacuate.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announced plans starting Wednesday afternoon to evacuate a quarter million people , not counting tourists, from its vulnerable coastline. Officials in central Florida’s Brevard County on Wednesday ordered inhabitants on barricade islands and in flood-prone areas to pack up and get out.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said his state could see its biggest evacuation ever. “If you’re able to go early, leave now, ” he added.

Matthew was a dangerous and life-threatening Category 3 hurricane with sustained breezes of 120 mph, and it was expected to be very near Florida’s Atlantic coast by Thursday evening.

At 8 p. m. EDT, Matthew was centered about 165 miles south-southeast of Nassau in the eastern Bahamas. It was heading northwest at 12 mph.

Hurricane-force breezes extended outward up to 45 miles from the centre for human rights, meaning Matthew could wreak havoc along the Eastern coast even if it did not actually come ashore.

President Barack Obama was briefed on the federal government’s preparations Wednesday. He told reporters that the time has come to “hope for best available but we want to prepare for the worst.”

Traffic was bumper-to-bumper during morning rush hour on Interstate 26 in South Carolina as people tried to escape ahead of the hurricane. Gasoline was hard to come by, with at least half a dozen stations in Mount Pleasant out of fuel and cables at others.

At one gas station in Mount Pleasant, the line reached about a quarter mile down wall street. The state’s attorney general informed stations against rate gouging.

According to Fox Carolina, Greenville County academies werent going to run bus Wednesday for students and instead drivers would be sent to the coast to help evacuate inhabitants. Students expecting buses and had not yet been other mode of transportation “wouldve been” excused.

In South Florida, government officials are obsessed inhabitants have become complacent after 11 years of near misses. Typhoons Wilma and Katrina along with Andrew is now in the mind of officials as they spoke at a press conference Tuesday. Rep. Carlos Curbelo wants certainties that the federal, country and local governments are working together.