LIVE BLOG: Hurricane Matthew makes landfall in South Carolina

Lauren Rautenkranz forecasts.

Stay with First Coast News Weather Team for continuous updates on Hurricane Matthew

1:00 PM: St. Johns County is opening supply points of distribution. Each family will receive up to two cases of water (48 bottles) and a two-day food supply (six meals) per person.

- Pedro Menendez High School - 600 SR 206, St. Augustine, FL
- Nease High School - 10550 Ray Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

12:00 PM: According to Putnam County Emergency Management, debris removal contractors will begin working on Wednesday morning to remove all debris from Hurricane Matthew. Debris must be placed on County right-of-way to be picked up. Contractors are not allowed to pick up on private property or roads.

9:00 AM: Hurricane Matthew is a category 1 hurricane pounding South Carolina. It will not make landfall next week in Florida. A remnant low by Wednesday.

All bridges are currently open except for those going over the Intracoastal waterways. Officials have not said when access to the coastal homes will happen. 

Here's a full list of closures across the First Coast 

2:00 AM: Hurricane Matthew is no longer a threat to the First Coast. The storm is still a Cat 2 hurricane just 45 mi off of  Hilton Head South Carolina. 

11:05 PM: Hurricane Matthew is weakening - but is still considered a strong category 2 hurricane. The storm is moving north at 12 mph and is 70 miles south-southeast of Savannah, Ga.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for north of Fernandina Beach all the way to Surf City in North Carolina. The storm is expected to turn out to the east sometime on Saturday.

The St. Johns River is expected to rise 6 to 9 feet.

10:15 PM: Gov. Rick Scott announced he would visit Jacksonville Saturday to assess the damage personally. The exact details of the trip will be announced tomorrow morning.

10:05 PM: A 50 mph wind gust was reported near Savannah, Ga. The storm is about 45 minutes southeast of Savannah as of 10 p.m. The storm is expected to move closer to the Carolina coasts through the night before returning out to the ocean.

It is expected to weaken as it moves north.

9:40 PM: To all those stuck in Fernandina Beach or to those who have evacuated and can't return home until the Shave Bridge reopens: FDOT will conduct a review at 7 a.m. in the morning. Potentially you could regain access to your homes shortly after that - but don't count on it. Crews will have ample clean up and inspection to do on the island.

8:40 PM: The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office would like you to know that the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine was not compromised during the storm and the gators were not unleashed on the unsuspecting public. Just FYI.

8:35 PM: Eight people were reportedly hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning at an apartment complex on Powers Avenue. It is important to remember to ONLY turn on a generator in a well-ventilated area. This generator was placed between two apartment complex.

7:20 PM: Gerri Boyce, JEA spokesperson, explained the utility company's first priority would be to restore power to police stations, hospitals and businesses.

But they won't even be able to begin restore power until conditions improve and that could take until early Saturday. Additionally, if you have a damaged home - like a tree crushing the roof - crews will not enter your home to reconnect service.

At a city press conference, Sheriff Mike Williams advised residents not to count on the bridges to the beaches or the Dames Point to reopen Saturday.

6:15 PM: The first reported death in our area from Hurricane Matthew comes after a woman was crushed inside a camper in Crescent City by a downed tree Friday afternoon.

6 PM: A wind gust recorded at 63 mph was reported at NAS Jax. The storm still has its highest sustained winds at 110 mph, keeping it a category 2 storm.

The storm is still 40 miles east of Jacksonville beach and 50 miles east-southeast of Fernandina Beach.

5 PM: Now just 40 miles east of Jacksonville Beach, the worst of Hurricane Matthew will not strike the Bold New City of the South. Jacksonville is facing hurricane-force winds 5 miles inland from the coast and tropical storm-force winds throughout the First Coast.

Radar shows that the storm is between Ponte Vedra and St. Augustine as it slogs northward.

The storm has weakened to a category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 110 mph and higher gusts.

Matthew is moving directly north at 12 mph. It is expected to make a turn toward the north-northeast sometime Saturday before moving away from the southeastern U.S.

Storm surge is expected for the St. Johns River from 6 to 9-foot as well as from Flagler Beach, Fla. up to Edisto Beach, S.C.

The hurricane is expected to drop 8 to 12 inches of rain over the next 48 hours.

4 PM: Hurricane Matthew is now just 35 miles east of St. Augustine as the storm inches northward, continuing to pummel the First Coast.

Sustained winds (that means constant) at the St. Augustine Pier are reportedly 63 mph. Storm surge at Fernandina Beach has already reached 4.17 feet.

3 PM: Hurricane Matthew continues to be 50 miles southeast of Jacksonville Beach - moving slightly east and keeping his distance.

All beach access in Flagler County has been suspended - effective immediately - and it will be enforced by Flagler County sheriff's deputies. 

2:45 PM: According to the Jax Beach mayor, if you have evacuated the beaches, do not expect to be able to return home tomorrow.

This is what Jax Beach looks like right now:



2 PM: Hurricane Matthew is heading toward us at 12 mph - 50 miles from Jacksonville Beach. Severe winds and rains are expected in our entire area, especially those areas closer to the ocean. 

The storm is moving closer and closer to our area.

1:50 PM: Ocean Way Elementary is now a shelter. It's located at 12555 Gillespie Ave in Jax.

1:25 PM: Important statement for all JEA customers:

Because of extensive outages restoration times has been extended to Sunday at noon. Restoration times will be updated as soon as we have more reliable data. For safety, crews have taken shelter to wait out the storm. Thank you for your patience.

1:15 PM: Some powerful wind gusts have been reported in our area as Matthew bears down on the First Coast. As Matthew brushes our coast, wind gusts reported at Flagler Beach topped 83 mph. At Ponte Vedra Beach, a gust was reported of 73 mph! 

In St. Augustine, a wind gust of 79 mph was reported as well.

The storm is 70 miles southeast of Jacksonville Beach.

1:05 PM: ALL access to the beaches in Duval County is now closed. All bridges, including Wonderwood, Beach, Atlantic and JTB.

Bridges are expected to reopen sometime after Saturday morning.

12:35 PM: The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says that all bridges will be closed in Duval County within the next hour or two. Once those bridges close, they will not reopen until at least Saturday morning, authorities say.

The worst of the storm should begin to hit us around 2 p.m.

12:03 PM: Flager County has extended their curfew to Friday. 

11:30 AM: Any deviation to the left for Matthew would put the western eyewall touching the shore of either Jacksonville or southeast Georgia. 

As hurricane-force winds increase in strength rapidly with height, those in high-rise buildings should take caution: winds 30-stories in the air are a full category stronger than those at the ground-level.

Also, severe water hazards remain for those on the coast in all our viewing areas. Make sure to take every precaution.

11:10 AM: The latest Hurricane Matthew track has the storm moving north northwest at 12 miles per hours. Meteorologist Lauren Rautenkranz says it appears the eye - for now - will stay offshore. 

8:30 AM: The National Weather says they are 'cautiously optimistic' regarding Hurricane Matthew. The NWS says the scenarios for a major hurricane landfall and devastating storm surge that they were looking at yesterday with a category 3/4 hurricane right on our coast, are not there. 

8 AM:  Hurricane Matthew continues to work its way to the north-northwest just off the coast of Central Florida. As of 8 AM, the center of Matthew is about 45 miles to the ESE of Daytona Beach, moving NNW at 13 MPH.

The pressure at the center of the storm continues to rise just a bit, meaning the storm could be weakening slightly.

Sustained winds are at 120 mph at the center.

The current track and speed would have it centered off the coast of Jacksonville around 6 PM, earlier in St. Augustine.


5:00 AM: Category 3 Hurricane Matthew is 100 miles off Flagler County coastline. 

Matthew is traveling almost parallel to Florida's east coast, still has 120 mph winds. 

Tim Deegan says the St. Augustine area should start seeing tropical storm force sustained winds (40+ MPH) around 8 a.m. with the Jackonville area starting to see the those winds after 10 a.m.

4:00 AM: Matthew's eyewall is now within 5 miles of the Central Florida coast. 

Wind Gust Forecast for St. Augustine shows the potential for 100+ wind gusts later this afternoon/evening.


3:00AM: National Hurricane Center says sustained hurricane-force winds occurring just off shore of the Florida east coast. 

2:00AM: As of the 2am advisory Hurricane Matthew is moving closer to the east coast of Florida with winds of 120mph. The National Hurricane Center says the storm is about 45 miles east of Vero Beach Florida. 

1:00AM: Hurricane Matthew continues to approach the First Coast area. It remains a storm with catastrophic and life-threatening impact. Wave actions and swells will continue along the coast even after the storm has passed. 

12:00 AM: Hurricane Matthew continues to move away from Northwestern Bahamas. According to the National Hurricane Center, during the past hour, a wind gust of 55 mph (89 km/h) was reported at Stuart, Florida, and a gust of 54 mph (87 km/h) has occurred at Vero Beach, Florida.

11:00 PM | The National Hurricane Center has Hurricane Matthew still at a Category 4 but the latest track shifts it slightly east. This is better news for the First Coast as the further east it tracks, the less impact we feel from what should be a Category 3 storm off our coast.

At daybreak on Friday, there will be heavy rain bands that will begin to move in towards Flagler, St. Johns and Putnam counties

From early morning to midday there will be heavy rain bands that move into the Jacksonville and surrounding areas with winds picking up 50+ along the beaches

Then late Friday and early Saturday, heavy rain bands move into Southeast Georgia will have lingering showers in St. Johns, Flagler and St. Johns. Winds will still stay very breezy as Matthew moves up to our north, but will shift to come out of the west.

8:45 PM |   Matthew has just passed east of West Palm by 75 miles as it heads northwest.Their highest winds so far have been gusts to 60.

8:30 PM | Hurricane Matthew is still an extremely dangerous hurricane. As of the 8:00 advisory, maximum sustained winds have dropped from 140 mph to 130 mph. Tropical Storm conditions are spreading over the southeast coast of Florida as Matthew moves over the western end of the Grand Bahama Island. The storm is still moving towards the northwest at 13 mph and is expected to be approaching the coast of Florida by early Friday morning.

7:15 PM | 7:15 PM | Flagler County has enacted a curfew ahead of Hurricane Matthew for all areas in the county east of Interstate 95. The curfew begins at 7 p.m. (meaning it has already begun) and extends through 7 a.m. Friday morning.

The curfew will not hinder those attempting to evacuate, but if you are caught outside not evacuating you will be charged with a misdemeanor.

Alcohol sales are also suspended until the emergency declaration is lifted. This could be days.

5 PM | The National Hurricane Center has extended the Hurricane Warning from West Palm Beach, Fla. all the way up to South Santee River, S.C.

Winds are still sustained at 140 mph with higher gusts. The storm is about 100 miles east-southeast of West Palm Beach. The storm is moving northwest at 14 mph.

It's expected to hit Florida beginning Friday morning.

Hurricane-force winds (75 mph+) extend about 60 miles outward from the center of the storm. Tropical-storm-force winds (39 mph) are 185 miles out of the center.

The storm is expected to graze the First Coast as a category 3 storm. It could drop 6 to 10 inches of rain over a few hours.

3:55 PM | The LSU-UF game scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8 has been postponed to a later date ahead of Hurricane Matthew. 

The AP reports that it might be rescheduled for Nov. 19. 

3:25 PM | CURFEW instituted for the following St. Johns County cities beginning at 8 p.m. and going through until 6 a.m. Friday morning:

  • St. Augustine
  • St. Augustine Beach
  • All areas east of the Intracoastal Waterway on the barrier islands

This will remain in effect until further notice.

3:20 PM | ALL WATER will be SHUT OFF to all JEA customers EAST of the Intracoastal Waterway beginning Thursday night at 8 p.m. continuing through until after crews are able to assess the damage and fix it. 

If you live east of the Intracoastal, please evacuate immediately. Do not try to ride this storm out.

3:15 PM | ALL WATER to be SHUT OFF to the barrier islands area of ST. JOHNS COUNTY EVACUATION ZONES. These areas are under mandatory evacuation and water will be shut off at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6. It WILL NOT be turned back on until crews can safely get to the area and make repairs. That might take days. 

If you are under a mandatory evacuation in ANY county, ANY area, please leave immediately. DO NOT try to ride out the storm. Your life is in danger - that's from Gov. Rick Scott himself.

Here's a list of local evacuation shelters.

3 PM | Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams says that he doesn't see enough people on the roads. He adds that once the bridges close, he expects them to stay closed until Saturday midday. 

"Do not go to the beach to go sightseeing," reads a tweet from the sheriff's office's Twitter account. "Stay away."

There is still time to get out of town, Williams says. Authorities add that sustained winds are expected at 115 mph with gusts up to 130.

Additionally, curfew hours have been established for all of Glynn County beginning Oct. 7 at midnight (that's in 9 hours from the time of this writing) until 5 a.m. in the morning.



2 PM  As of the 2 p.m. update, Hurricane Matthew is a powerful Category Four hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 140 miles per hour.  The storm is located just 125 SE of West Palm Beach and it is moving to the NW at 14 MPH.

The storm is still strengthening as it moved through the Bahamas. The eye is well defined.

Weather conditions for our area will begin to deteriorate this evening with heavier rain bands coming through.

Damaging winds of 50 MPH+ are likely by midday Friday in the Jacksonville area, with those winds even earlier in St. Augustine and Friday evening in SE Georgia.

Winds gusts of 100 MPH plus are possible in the St. Augustine area near the coast with rainfall amounts of 6-10 inches possible.

In the Jacksonville area, rain of up to 10 inches is possible with winds topping 80 miles per hour.

In Southeast Georgia, rain could approach a foot and winds 70+ MPH.

1 PM:    POSITION UPDATE: 25.5 N 78.2 WEST Berry Island just reported winds of 59 Gusts 76

12 PM: The areas closest to the eye wall are from Palm Beach  County to Ft. Pierce and Cape Canaveral. Landfall would be on Friday morning. Here at home this means damaging wind becomes a big issue by Friday afternoon into Friday night.

Wind gusts of 70-90 mph at all the beaches including southeast Georgia can be expected. Wind gusts may hit 100 mph on the sand. Farther inland you will not escape the damaging wind. Hurricane force wind gusts can be expected all the way to the highway 17 corridor with 50 to 80 mph winds. Area from highway 301 to Interstate 75 are in the 40-60 mph wind cone with power outages as well possible. A tornado threat will also increase during the day Friday.

Flooding will be an issue with 6-12” of rain expected. More widespread flooding and tidal flooding as the wind and heavy rain backs up the river can be expected starting close to the noon high tide today and once again at 2 a.m. tonight and 2 p.m. on Friday that includes those flood-prone areas from downtown to San Marco.

Storm surge looks like a huge issue so if you are told to evacuate please do so. A storm surge of 6-10 feet is likely due to the eye wall skirting very close to the  First Coast. A storm surge warning is in effect for our entire coastline including Camden and Glynn Counties. This means a life-threatening water rise along the St. Johns River and at the beach. Please heed all  evacuation warnings. Beach erosion and coastal flooding will pack a one-two punch with surf of 14-18 feet.

11 AM: The National Hurricane Center has upgraded Hurricane Matthew to a Category 4 with 140 mile per hour sustained wind speeds. It is moving northwest at 14 miles per hour. It is about 180 miles southeast of West Palm Beach, Florida. The Hurricane Warning has been extended northward to Edisto Beach, SC. 

9 AM: Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry includes Zone C into recommended evacuations. Curry stressed again the importance of evacuating if you live in Zones A or B. 

7 AM: Glynn County has issued a mandatory evacuation for Zone A which is all areas east of Interstate 95 in addition to Blythe Island and Oak Grove Island as well as all of the City of Brunswick, which is east of I-95. 

6 AM: Evacuation orders for parts of Nassau County and St. Johns County are now in effect. Click here to see if you are affected. 

5 AM: A Hurricane Warning has been extended for Glynn and Camden Counties. 

Matthew is also strengthening  near the Northwestern Bahamas with winds of 125 MPH. 

4 AM: National Weather Service of Miami says the eye of Hurricane Matthew is now present on Miami radar. Outer rain bands approaching the East Coast and will arrive around 6AM

2:00AM: Hurricane Matthew is currently pounding portions of the Central Bahamas and is expected to intensify as it approaches Florida. The National Hurricane Center has the storm at 115 mph maximum sustained winds. 

An unofficial observing site on Staniel Cay in the Exumas recently reported a sustained wind of 87 mph and a gust to 92 mph

11 PM: A Hurricane Warning was issued for parts of the First Coast from Fernandina Beach to the Flagler/Volusia County line, the National Hurricane Center says.

Hurricane Matthew is heading over the central Bahamas as of 11 p.m. on Wednesday. The storm is about 325 miles southeast of West Palm Beach, Fla. 

The storm is still headed northwest at 10 mph. 

A Hurricane Watch was issued for north of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach.

The storm has maximum sustained winds of 115 mph and is expected to strengthen over the coming day.

9 PM:  The National Hurricane Center's newest update has Hurricane Matthew continuing to skirt the Florida Coast and coming close to a Florida landfall near Daytona.

The storm is located about 370 miles from West Palm Beach and is moving to the Northwest at about 12 miles an hour.

The storm has weakened slightly to sustained winds of 115 MPH but we expect it to get stronger.

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