(AP, WLTX) - President Barack Obama has declared an emergency in South Carolina and has ordered federal aid to help respond to Hurricane Matthew.

Earlier Thursday, Obama made the declaration for Florida. Obama's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate efforts to protect lives, property and alleviate the suffering caused by the hurricane.

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Emergency declarations are designed to help provide emergency services to protect lives and property, and to lessen the threat of a catastrophe.

Gov. Nikki Haley said the state is preparing for potentially catastrophic conditions along the coast, particularly in an area south of Charleston. She begged people living in that area to heed the evacuation orders, saying that once the storm hits, they will likely be on their own.

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