What does a Category 4 hurricane look like?

The president has declared a state of emergency for Florida and South Carolina

(CNN) – Many people have evacuated the east coast of Florida, as the outer bands of Hurricane Matthew start hitting the state. Just how bad can a category four hurricane be?

You get up to Category 3, and now you’re talking about going over 100 miles per hour with winds. You start seeing big trees being toppled, mobile homes wiped out, smaller homes pushed away, and importantly, that storm surge nine to 12 feet, something like that. That’s the reason people have to evacuate early, because it starts cutting off roads. It makes it impossible for help to get in to anyone.

Then, when you get to where this storm is, where you’re talking about a Category 4 storm. We’re seeing major damage to major buildings: roofs peeling back, maybe doors and windows starting to give way. In fact, you have a storm surge that is so pronounced here that anything that’s within 500 yards of the beach is in real danger, and in fact, even 6 miles in, if you have any structure under 10 feet below sea level, that has a real danger of being flooded as the storm surge pushes in.

Then, of course, if you get all the way up to a Category 5, if it hits like that, now it’s over 155 miles per hour. Look. You’re going to have absolute destruction.

As of 9:00 p.m. eastern time Thursday, the National Hurricane Center advised Hurricane Matthew had sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

The president has already declared a state of emergency for Florida and South Carolina.

Continuing Coverage: Hurricane Matthew