Florida coast prepares for a "direct hit" from Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew on the move

Hurricane watches and tropical storm warnings have been issued for Florida’s coast. President Obama postponed a campaign stop to the state and will instead visit FEMA headquarters.

The U.S. hasn’t had a category three or stronger hurricane make landfall since Wilma hit Florida in 2005. And this state is preparing and watching a forecast that threatens to put a strengthening Hurricane Matthew right in their path, reports CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez. 

There were so many people fueling up at this service station in Pembroke Pines, Florida Tuesday night, a man was directing traffic to the pumps.

“There were quite a few lines earlier so we decided to come out a little later,” said Judy Karagiannes, fueling up. “We figured you know, maybe later would be better.”

“What about this storm in particular made you decide, ‘let’s get prepared?’” Bojorquez asked.

“The strength of the winds and how big it is,” Karagiannes said. 

“Been through Wilma and Katrina and pretty much seen what devastation they can cause - so not taking any chances,” said another resident. 

In addition to buying bottled water and batteries, people in South Florida waited in long lines to refill propane gas canisters and loaded up sheets of plywood.

“We have to prepare for a direct hit on the Florida coast,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott. “If that turns -- -and these things turn -- and it has a direct impact, we’re not going to have a lot of time to evacuate because people are going to wait.”

States of emergency have been declared across Florida, parts of Georgia and North Carolina and in all of South Carolina, where Governor Nikki Haley is ordering more than a million people to move inland.

“Our goal is to make sure that you basically get 100 miles away from the coast,” Haley said.

Like Haley, Scott activated the National Guard. Two-hundred members were in place Tuesday and 300 will join them in staging across Florida today.

Many school districts along Florida’s Atlantic coastline have also already canceled classes as Hurricane Matthew approaches the state.