10/7/16: This story has been updated with the latest information regarding Walt Disney World closures and cancellations.
The governor of Florida has just told its citizens to flee as Hurricane Matthew bears down on the state. The storm has been blamed for the deaths of 100 people in Haiti and is expected to make landfall in Florida late Thursday. Walt Disney World has closed its parks for the fourth time since its opening.
“You need to leave. Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate,” Gov. Rick Scott of Florida told 1.5 million people living in evacuation zones on Thursday. President Obama has declared a state of emergency.
Walt Disney World has only been closed three times since opening in 1971 -- always in anticipation of hurricanes: Hurricane Floyd (1999); Hurricane Jeanne (2004); Hurricane Frances (2004). Their top wind speeds, respectively, were 155 mph, 120mph, and 145 mph. Hurricane Matthew's winds have reached speeds of up to 140 mph and strengthening.
A spokeswoman for Walt Disney World said on Thursday, "Based on the most recent forecasts for Hurricane Matthew, Walt Disney World theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, miniature golf courses and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will all be closed today by 5 p.m., and will remain closed through Fri., Oct. 7."