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Hurricane Matthew: St. Augustine streets flooded, people stranded

St. Augustine was among the hardest-hit areas of Northeast Florida as Hurricane Matthew arrived Friday. 

Video from WJAX reporter Russell Colburn showed water rising in downtown streets. People were seen trapped at the Casablanca Inn. 

>>Hurricane Matthew: Live updates

St. Johns County officials quickly moved to close all bridges in St. Johns County earlier in the day. 

>> Read the latest on Hurricane Matthew 

 

 

Staff members to stay at Jacksonville Zoo to ride out storm with animals

Staff members at the Jacksonville Zoo stayed behind Thursday and Friday to care for the animals during Hurricane Matthew. 

The Deputy Director of Animal Care and Conservation, Dan Maloney, said that all animals would shelter-in-place.

There are roughly 2,300 animals at the Zoo.

About 20 staff members were staying behind to care for them, zoo officials said. 

>> Read more trending stories 

The most vulnerable areas of the Zoo are the older buildings – including the aviary and front gates.

Land of the Tiger was built with storms in mind, zoo officials said. The cats beds are up high, as are the electrical sockets.

Backup generators are ready if needed.

After Hurricane Matthew, Ohio man Haiti-bound to find his wife

An Ohio woman has been stopped from returning home from Haiti due to Hurricane Matthew, now her husband is on his way to the island nation looking for any sign of his wife.

Chelsey Crabtree was in Haiti with family members on a mission trip, her husband Jacob Crabtree said. She had been there for about a week, he said, before Hurricane Matthew hit Tuesday and early Wednesday morning.

The family makes several visits to Haiti each year, he said, to help out at orphanages and drill water wells for their nonprofit, Living Water for Haiti.

>> Read more trending stories  

Jacob Crabtree, who was in Springfield, Ohio when the storm hit, was texting with his wife, he said, until about 4 a.m. Wednesday when he lost contact. She was telling him the storm’s strength was increasing, he said.

Nearly two days after the storm damaged Haiti, Crabtree had not been able to contact his wife for two days. He boarded a plane early Friday morning to fly to the country, headed to the town of Jeremie, Haiti to find his wife.

The town west of the capital of Port-Au-Prince was in the eye of Hurricane Matthew. His wife and her four family members were in that area on a mission trip.

The couple have been through a natural disaster before.  Last time, it was an earthquake that left her stranded in 2010. It took four days for her to make contact with her family.

“Obviously we’re worried, still no word from there,” Jacob Crabtree said.

>> Read the latest on Hurricane Matthew 

Tuesday, when the storm made landfall on southwestern Haiti, a NASA satellite captured the storm’s swirling clouds blanketing Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and much of eastern Cuba. It was a Cat 4 (sustained winds of 130 mph to 156 mph), the strongest to hit that nation in more than 50 years, NASA officials said.

Crabtree said he’ll not purchase a return ticket and depending on what he finds, he may stay to help with survivors and clean up.

“Just kind of leaving it open-ended, if they need help down there and there’s things I could do, I’ll stay, you know if I need to get them home, then I’ll get them home,” he said.

He admits he’s afraid, but he’s leaning on his faith in God.

“That’s what keeps us going back all the time you know? We’re all commanded to give back and to care for and there’s always those risks, but you know God didn’t command us to go to the safe places.”

Police: Suspect arrested breaking into Central Florida store as Matthew looms

Police in the Central Florida city of Sanford said a burglar was apprehended while trying to break into a Dollar General store Thursday as severe weather from Hurricane Matthew began to blow through.

>> Read the latest on Hurricane Matthew

The department tweeted that the burglar was arrested and posted a photo on Twitter of a front glass window smashed.

#HurricaneMatthew #Burglary #BREAKING Sanford Police apprehend a subject breaking into a Dollar General. pic.twitter.com/2emRMZ3Rea— Sanford Police (@SanfordPolice) October 7, 2016<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Hurricane Matthew: Disney, Universal, Legoland, SeaWorld close for storm

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

As Hurricane Matthew approaches the East Coast and residents prepare for hurricane-force winds and heavy rain, theme parks in Central Florida and beyond are issuing closures.

>> Read the latest on Hurricane Matthew

Here's a wrapup of which parks have posted notices:

Disney

Disney's theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, miniature golf courses and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will close by 5 p.m. today and will stay closed Friday. Disney also canceled Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for Thursday.

The closures include three Disney resorts: Disney's Vero Beach Resort in Vero Beach, Florida; Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground in Orlando, Florida and Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina.

In addition to its resorts and parks, Disney announced a number of changes to four of its planned cruises.

The Disney Fantasy was scheduled to depart Saturday from Port Canaveral, Florida, for a 7-day trip through the Caribbean. The cruise was delayed by a day and shortened to 6 days.

The Disney Dream, which was expected to return Friday to Port Canaveral, has been delayed by a day while the next trip out, scheduled to take place Friday, was canceled.

The Disney Magic, scheduled to leave Friday from New York, is changing its route to take travelers through Canada to avoid Matthew.

>> Click here for the latest from Disney.

Universal

The park posted a notice on its Facebook page that for Thursday, its theme parks and CityWalk will close at 5 p.m., Wet 'n Wild will close at 2 p.m. and Halloween Horror Nights is canceled.

» Related: FPL forecasts up to 1.2 million customers could lose power

On Friday, all theme parks will be closed and Halloween Horror Nights is canceled.

Universal expects to reopen its parks Saturday.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.8";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>11:20 AM UPDATE: For your safety, please be aware of the following operational changes. Stay tuned to our Social Media...Posted by Universal Orlando Resort on Thursday, October 6, 2016

>> Click here for the latest from Universal.

Legoland

Legoland Florida will operate as usual Thursday, but will be closed Friday.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.8";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>Due to Hurricane Matthew, LEGOLAND will close at 4pm on Thursday, Oct. 6 and remain closed Friday, Oct. 7. The kickoff...Posted by LEGOLAND Florida on Wednesday, October 5, 2016

>> Click here for the latest from Legoland.

SeaWorld

SeaWorld posted on its website that it will close at 2 p.m. Thursday and be closed Friday. The park is expected to be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. Hours are subject to change.

The SeaWorld call center will follow the same schedule for Thursday and Friday, and reopen at 8 a.m. Saturday.

>> Click here for the latest from SeaWorld.

Hurricane Matthew: Experts weigh in on saving family treasures

They may be a thousand miles away from the storm, but the experts at the Smithsonian Institution have some tips on how to save family treasures and important documents when Hurricane Matthew makes landfall in the U.S.

As you prepare for the storm, think about where you store family archives. Move them from areas that could flood like the basement, floor or near windows.

If they do get wet, all hope is not lost. 

>> Read more trending stories  

The National Heritage Responders' hotline can link you with trained conservators who can help. The number to call is 202-661-8068. The group has helped victims of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Haiti's earthquake in 2010 and North Dakota flooding in 2011.

FEMA has a fact sheet on trying to save any family treasures damaged by a storm or a fire. You can download the information here.

And finally, there's an app for that, available on Google Play and the App Store. The Emergency response and Salvage Mobile App has taken the place of the Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel. The wheel was a staple of museums, libraries and archives across the globe. It will guide collectors on how to protect and salvage different types of collections like photographs and natural history specimens.

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