President Obama declared a state of emergency for Florida Thursday afternoon, clearing the way for federal aid in addition to state and local emergency response teams, according to the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Forecasters said the hurricane could make landfall Thursday night or early Friday.

According to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, Matthew is expected to remain Category 4 as it nears the east coast of Florida.

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Jayleen R. Heft

Jayleen Heft is the digital content editor for Contact her at [email protected].