BREVARD COUNTY – Port Canaveral CEO John Murray issued an evacuation order on Tuesday afternoon for landside operations.
The order, which gives a deadline of evacuating by noon on Wednesday, affects Jetty Park campers, marinas and all Port businesses and tenants.
Port officials said the U.S. Coast Guard has also given notice that the Canaveral harbor will close by Wednesday afternoon. Under the Captain of the Port order, no vessel traffic--including cruise and cargo ships, as well as recreational and commercial fishing boats --will be allowed in harbor until after the storm passes and the order is lifted, officials said.
The shutdown is the first one since the 2004 storms when the harbor was closed for 11 days to ship traffic.
As Hurricane Matthew continues to march its way toward Florida, one of the places that could be hit the hardest is the Barrier Islands in Brevard County. Ocean Rescue says 12-16 foot surf is expected in the coming days. Lifeguards add that a storm surge of one to three feet going up the beach is also expected.
"It's fun. It's going to get more fun," Chris Honderick, a surfer, told New 6 on Tuesday.
However, all water activity will be closed by Thursday, when lifeguards say double red flags will line Brevard beaches.
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Emergency leaders say anyone on the coast needs to stay informed.
"Decide very quickly what action you need to take to stay out of harm's way," said Don Walker with Brevard Emergency Management.
Emergency leaders expect high winds and two or three inches of rain in parts of the county as the Emergency Operations Center building in Rockledge becomes the busiest its been all hurricane season.
"We preach the same message that we preach on June 1 that we preach today - know your risk, make a plan, build a kit and stay informed," Walker said.