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Disney World has shut for the first time in more than a decade amid widespread fear as Hurricane Matthew continues on its path of devastation towards Florida.

President Obama has declared a state of emergency in Florida as Matthew is expected to hit with a storm force of 4.

The death toll caused by Hurricane Matthew currently stands at at least 140 people with fatalities in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Evacuations are now ongoing across Florida and major attractions are closing their gates as a precaution while America braces itself for what is to come.

A spokeswoman for Walt Disney World said: “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 remain closed through Friday Oct 7.”

In the park’s history, Walt Disney World has only ever closed three times. Each time the closures have been the result of hurricanes. In 1999, there were Hurricane Floyd and Hurricane Frances while in 2004, it was Hurricane Jeanne.

Guests have already been evacuated from several of Disney World’s resorts, including the Fort Wilderness Campground, Polynesian Bungalows and the Saratoga Springs Treehouse Villas.

Sea World, also in Orlando has also announced it has closed and will remain shut during Friday.

Hurricane Matthew is expected to bring winds of 140mph along with 12ft storm surges.

So far, thousands of people have been evacuated from homes in the states of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Stocks of blood are being prepared in these states, sourced from a donor network in Seattle, in preparation for what are being described as further inevitable casualties.

The storm is expected to hit on Thursday night and stay close to Florida’s east coast through to Friday night.

Panic buying across the state means supermarket shelves have been cleared by shoppers fearful that they will run out of food if the storm hits. People who have taken advice to flee to safer ground away from the coast have faced huge queues at petrol stations as they try to get enough fuel to drive far enough away, or to stay put and stock up for emergency generators.

There has also been a rush to buy materials to cover up windows and doors of both homes and businesses as residents try to prepare as best they can to reduce damage to their properties or livelihood.

Residents have been advised to store food to last them for at least three days as well as filling up their vehicles with fuel.

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