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Putnam County Boat Owners Prepare for Hurricane Matthew

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Even if Hurricane Matthew doesn’t make landfall, it could pass close enough to scrape Florida’s east coast with hurricane-force winds.

As of Wednesday afternoon, it looks like a 50-50 chance of at least 40-mile-an-hour winds in landlocked Alachua and Marion counties.

People who live in Palatka in Putnam County are preparing for the hurricane in different ways. Some are collecting sandbags for their homes, and others who live on the river are making sure their boats don’t sail away.

Though it’s not next to the ocean, Palatka is next to another body of water that could cause a problem: the St. Johns River. Riverfront park is adjacent, as well as a few shops and homes.

“We’ve had to assist residents in pumping out lower areas of their home and helping sandbag and stuff like that,” Paul Flateau of Putnam County Emergency Services said. “So definitely don’t wait until the water’s already up.”

The Putnam County School District announced Wednesday that all schools are closed Thursday and Friday.

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