St Augustine florida

34041_web1_bahamastropicalweatherEvacuations begin in St. Johns County; official warns, ‘Find a place to go and get there as soon as possible’People are heeding evacuation warnings and some are still trying to find a way out of vulnerable areas this morning as Hurricane Matthew nears Florida.

Jeff Alexander, deputy director of St. Johns County Emergency Management, said the county is seeing good compliance with evacuations on Anastasia Island, citing a police department report that not many people are left in St. Augustine Beach.

He urged anyone still lingering in an evacuation zone — which now includes all of Zone A and B — to get out while they still have time.

People who have questions or concerns can call the St. Johns County Emergency Operations center’s Citizen Information Line at 824-5550.

But people should leaving while there’s still an opportunity and before Tropical Storm conditions begin this evening or early Thursday as the hurricane approaches, he said. The county is hoping to have all evacuation zones empty before those conditions begin.

“We’re past the point of being able to improvise too much. … Find a place to go and get there as soon as possible. We’re looking at some pretty treacherous conditions out there,” Alexander said.

Alexander said the county has had challenges with moving people that need help or medical care, but they’ve so far “been able to keep all that moving forward and get those folks to some place safe.”

The county has moved some people to alternate medical facilities and some to shelters.

“We’ve got a lot of special needs folks. … .there are some people who’ve called in late. We’re doing the best we can with them,” he said.

The county has a predetermined program for people who had already registered for special needs shelter, and the county is helping those people first, he said. Then they’ll move to work on the secondary list of people.

Officials are also trying to create bus routes to help people in need.

He also said people should bring the necessary supplies with them if they head to a shelter, including bedding.

“If they are going to a public shelter, we are not providing bedding, pillows and blankets,” he said. “Bring that with you.”

Also, people should bring a cot.

“It is in fact a very dangerous storm,” Alexander said. “The sections that we’re asking to evacuate are in fact in danger and they do need to leave.”

Shelters open in St. Johns County as evacuation ordered
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