Media Release

10-06-16 1:45 p.m. Hurricane Matthew Update: Wind Conditions and Sheltering with Animals Updates

Thursday, October 6, 2016 1:45 PM

Hurricane MatthewALACHUA COUNTY, FL - Tropical storm force winds (39 mph) are forecast to begin on Friday (October 7, 2016) at 7 a.m. Winds of these magnitudes or higher are forecast to continue for 22 hour.

Strong tropical storm force winds (58 mph) are forecast to begin on Friday at 2 p.m. Winds of this magnitude or higher are forecast to continue for 8 hours.

Winds are projected to peak at 66 mph around 8 p.m. on Friday.

UF classes will be canceled beginning at 3 p.m. today (October 6), and the campus will close at 5 p.m.

Alachua County Animal Services is requesting that pet owners bring their pets directly to Animal Services (3400 N.E. 53rd Ave., Gainesville) prior to evacuating to a designated shelter today during normal business hours (10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.). Animals brought to the Animal Shelter can be picked up on Saturday and Sunday during normal business hours (10:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.). Once tropical storm winds begin, pets will be kept at the emergency shelters. The Southeastern Livestock Pavilion (2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala, 352-671-8600) is open for sheltering livestock. Animal Services Headquarter phone number is 352-264-6870. For after-hours needs, call the non-emergency line at 352-955-1818 to reach the on-call Animal Services Officer.

Important information from previous releases

Although no mandatory evacuation is expected, the Alachua County Emergency Response Team is recommending early evacuation for those persons with special needs in order to accommodate transport needs. This is encouraged for those living in homes that are potentially unsafe in high winds (e.g. mobile homes), people who live in flood-prone areas, people who live in areas that frequently lose power during storms, and those who have nowhere else to go. The special needs shelter opened at 11 a.m. today (October 6, 2016), and is located at the Alachua County Senior Center (5701 N.W. 34th Blvd, Gainesville).

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. Please be aware that non-emergency transportation will be available until 9:00 pm Thursday 10/6/2016. This transportation is limited by sustained wind speed and may not be available on Friday 10/7/2016. Please call on Friday to see if transportation is available is needed.

The special needs shelter has cots available. Please be sure that you bring all medications, medical supplies, hygiene products, medical equipment (i.e. pumps, batteries, charges, A/C Adapters, etc.) If a person requires constant care, the appropriate caregiver is required come to the shelter and stay with the person requiring care.

Please see Special Needs Shelter Eligibility Guidelines for consideration of shelter types and accommodations. If you have questions as to whether or not you meet criteria for the Special Needs Shelter, please call 352-955-2580. Please remember that no pets or animals are permitted at any shelter.

The special needs shelter 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).

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.

The Alachua County Emergency Operations Center has moved to a full Level-1 Activation. The County is under a Local State of Emergency. Citizens should remain in their homes all day Friday.
Except for essential services, all cities and county government offices, the courthouses, States Attorney, and Public Defender's Offices are closed on Friday.

Alachua County Public Schools have announced that schools will be closed on Friday, October 7 (They will be open today, Thursday, October 6).

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.

View the National Weather Service in Jacksonville's latest briefing package for Hurricane Matthew.

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 today (Thursday) 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.


  • Mark Sexton
  • Communications & Legislative Affairs Director
  • Phone: 352-374-5204
  • Cell: 352-283-2317

If you have a disability and need an accommodation in order to participate in a County program, service or public meeting, please contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at 352-374-5275 at least 2 business days prior to the event. TTY users please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).