FLORIDA – As extremely dangerous Hurricane Matthew approaches Florida east coast, the Islamic Society in Tampa has opened the doors of its mosque and campus to shelter hurricane evacuees, offering a role model of caring for the other.
“The Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area – Florida announces that the Mosque campus and building will be open to all Americans who had to abandon their houses fleeing Matthew Hurricane that just hit the eastern coast of the state which has led the Governor to declare the state of emergency and evacuate the hit cities,” they said in a post on Facebook.
“We also assure our readiness to accommodate everyone providing the shelter and food.”
According to the National Hurricane Center, Matthew’s track shifted to the east late Thursday. On its current projected path, the storm is expected to skirt the coast throughout the day Friday.
Hurricane-force winds extended out up to 60 miles Friday morning. Tropical storm-force winds extended out 185 miles, forecasters said.
Hurricane warnings are up along much of the east coast. In the Tampa Bay area, a tropical storm watch is in place. A warning means conditions are likely within a designated area, generally within 48 hours. A watch means conditions are possible within a designated area.
Projections for Matthew’s path after its anticipated run-in with Florida include a trek through Georgia, South Carolina and possibly a sliver of North Carolina. The storm may then spin back south toward Florida by Tuesday with a possible second impact not entirely out of the question as of the hurricane center’s 11 p.m. Thursday update.
Opening their doors to evacuees, the Tampa Bay Islamic center stressed they were performing Muslims’ duties at the time of disaster.
“This is Islam and these are the Muslim’s duties when facing these disasters. (if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind)َ Quran 5.”
Tampa Bay hasn’t been struck by a hurricane in more than 90 years. Even so, it’s had some close calls this year.
Most recently, Hurricane Hermine left flooding woes in her wake as she passed by on her way to the Panhandle. Experts say the region’s lucky streak isn’t likely to last. It’s not a question of if, but when, forecasters say.