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President Obama signs South Carolina emergency declaration

Hurricane Matthew 8 p.m. Thursday update (National Hurricane Center)

Hurricane Matthew 8 p.m. Thursday update (National Hurricane Center)

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has declared that an emergency exists in South Carolina and ordered federal aid due to emergency conditions.

The president’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts, according to the White House.

Hurricane Matthew is nearing Florida, where it threatens to hammer the peninsula’s east coast with tornadoes, wicked winds and heavy rain.

If the storm’s wrath isn’t enough on its own, the possibility of several feet of storm surge could leave hundreds of thousands of residents underwater and without power.

Officials from Miami to North Carolina don’t intend to risk their residents’ safety. Residents who aren’t under mandatory evacuation orders have been warned to remain vigilant and be prepared to outmaneuver the storm, depending on its track.

The storm has killed at least 113 people in three Caribbean countries. The majority, 108 people, died in Haiti, said Civil Protection Service spokesman Joseph Edgard Celestin.