ALACHUA COUNTY, FL – Tropical storm force winds (39 mph) are forecast to begin at any time. Winds of these magnitudes or higher are forecast to continue for 9 hours.
Winds are projected to peak at 48 mph around 2 p.m. today.
There are currently approximately 2,500 homes without power.
Those without power can call GRU at 352-334-2871, Duke Electric at 800-228-8485, Florida Power and Light 1-800-468-8243, or Clay Electric at 888-434-9844.
Due to wind impacts on trees in the parking lot, those going to the Rawlings Elementary Emergency Shelter should park in the back grassy lot.
Important information from previous releases
People are encouraged to stay off the roads today. RTS bus service will begin regular operations at 6 a.m. on Saturday (October 8).
Although there is no mandatory evacuation, it 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 general population shelters 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.
Those sheltering with pets should bring their pets directly to emergency shelters. Depending on weather conditions, pets will be brought to the Animal Services Headquarters or will remain crated at the emergency shelter. 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.). The Southeastern Livestock Pavilion (2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala, 352-671-8600) is open for sheltering livestock. Animal Services Headquarters dispatch number will be answered until noon today at 352-264-6880. For afternoon needs, call the non-emergency line at 352-955-1818 to reach the on-call Animal Services Officer.
The special needs shelter 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.
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 the Special Needs Shelter Eligibility Guidelines for consideration of shelter types and accommodations.
Alachua County has deployed a website specific to Hurricane Matthew. Visit the site for helpful storm information.
The Alachua County Emergency Operations Center is in a full Level-1 Activation. The County is under a Local State of Emergency. Citizens should remain in their homes all day today.
Except for essential services, all cities and county government offices, the courthouses, States Attorney, and Public Defender's Offices are closed on today.
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. While voice calls are preferred, texting to 911 is available if needed.
Residents are also encouraged to stay informed about 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.