ALACHUA COUNTY, FL – As of 7 p.m. today (Wednesday, October 5, 2016), due to Hurricane Matthew Alachua County, is under a Local State of Emergency. Tropical storm force winds are forecast to begin early Friday morning. These winds are forecast to continue for approximately 20 hours. Within this time period, winds are projected to be sustained at 60 mph at approximately 2 p.m. Friday and continue for eight hours.
The University of Florida campus will be closed and classes are canceled on Friday. Santa Fe College will close at 5 p.m., on Thursday and will remain closed through Sunday.
Alachua County and the City of Gainesville government offices will be closed on Friday.
Although no mandatory evacuation is expected, shelters will open tomorrow (Thursday). The special needs shelter opens at 11 a.m., and is located at the Alachua County Senior Center (5701 N.W. 34th Blvd, Gainesville). The general population shelters will open at 5 p.m. and are located at Rawlings Elementary (3500 N.E. 15th Street, Gainesville), and the Easton Newberry Sports Complex (24880 N.W. 16th Ave, Newberry).
For those considering using the emergency shelters, please remember that general population shelters are a last resort, and should only be used by those living in homes that are potentially unsafe in high winds (e.g. mobile homes), people who live in flood-prone areas, and people who have nowhere else to go.
The special needs shelter is for those with special medical needs, such as oxygen dependency (Those in need of transportation assistance, please call 352-955-2575 or 352-955-2576).
However, general population shelters do not provide cots or beds. Bring any needed bedding. When packing to go to a shelter, please bring special dietary foods, baby food, diapers (and other child necessities), prescription medications, a small cooler of ice if refrigeration is needed as the shelter cannot be responsible for your medications. Also bring spare clothing, personal care items (hygiene, toiletries, etc.), spare eyeglasses/contacts, and identification.
Alachua County Animal Services is requesting that pet owners bring their pet directly to Animal Services (3400 N.E. 53rd Ave., Gainesville) prior to evacuating to a designated shelter during normal business hours (10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.). After 5:30 p.m., Animal Services Field Officers will transport animals from the shelters to Animal Services but that service will be limited depending on weather conditions. Animal Services will hold all pets until the storm warning has been lifted in Alachua County at which time pet owners will be expected to pick up their pet. Animal Services Headquarter phone number is 352-264-6870. For after-hours call the non-emergency line at 352-955-1818 to reach the on-call Animal Services Officer.
View the National Weather Service in Jacksonville's latest briefing package for Hurricane Matthew.
Important information from previous releases
Due to Hurricane Matthews projected path and local impacts Alachua County Public Schools have announced that schools will be closed on Friday, October 7 (They will be open on Thursday, October 6).
To keep residents informed about current conditions and threats from Hurricane Matthew, the Alachua County 311 information and rumor control service has been activated. Please use it to verify the most up to the minute information on Hurricane Matthew. Residents can also call the normal phone number 352-264-6557. These numbers cannot receive texts. Please use 911 for bona fide emergencies only.
Alachua County Public Works Department has set up a sandbag location at the roadside park, located at 11855 NW US HWY 441, Gainesville. The roadside park is located on the east side of US 441, five miles north of the Highway Patrol Station.
View the location on google maps.
Sandbags are available tomorrow (October 6) for residents of Alachua County, with a limit to 10 bags per resident. Bags and sand will be provided. Residents should bring a shovel, as they will be responsible for filling the bags. Bags will be available between 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
View information on the proper placement of sandbags.
Residents are encouraged to have a basic emergency supply kit. View a list of recommended emergency supply kit items.
Residents are also encouraged to stay informed about major storm conditions by following Alachua County on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribing to the County's press releases.
For more information, contact Alachua County Communications and Legislative Affairs Director Mark Sexton at 352-264-6979.