WASHINGTON — As Hurricane Matthew moves closer to Florida, the city of Miami has been hit with the most devastating tropical storm in its history.
As the National Hurricane Center says, it has the potential to wreak havoc on the entire state.
In Miami, it’s already the most destructive hurricane since the record-setting 1997 Hurricane Wilma.
That storm left more than 1,000 people dead.
Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said he was in a state of shock when the hurricane struck, and he’s confident the city will be better prepared than ever.
We will be a better city than Wilma, he said.
The hurricane hit the city at 3:40 p.m. on Friday.
It was expected to move out to sea by 6:15 p.t.
It would be the worst-hit city in Florida during the next week.
Regalados said the city has the ability to weather a hurricane and was working to prepare.
There is a huge amount of work going on in Miami right now.
I think we’ll be a much better city in the days ahead, he told ABC News.
The city’s emergency management director said it was a tough and difficult time, with a $2.8 billion budget deficit that has left the city struggling to keep up with the demand.
When the storm hit, there was a lot of uncertainty and a lot that was out of our control, said Kevin K. Johnson, acting director of emergency management for the city.
We were not prepared for this, he added.
Hurricane Matthew is the most powerful tropical storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.
It made landfall near Florida’s west coast just after midnight Friday, and it is forecast to stay offshore until the early hours of Saturday morning.
The storm has already caused some damage, including damage to the city’s seawalls, and has caused flooding, power outages and power outage warnings.
But it is expected to be a short-lived storm, with Matthew expected to pass just north of Florida’s Cape Hatteras and become a Category 1 hurricane by Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service.