Rod Smith hugs his wife, Karen, as they watch the churning surf on Oct. 6 in Satellite Beach, Florida. Getty Images

Hurricane Matthew, the Category 3 storm barreling toward Florida Thursday, put state authorities on high alert this week as forecasts grew increasingly bleak. Officials closed offices, urged evacuations and in many areas canceled classes so schools could be turned into shelters for residents riding out the storm.

"We are going to have a catastrophic storm whether it’s a direct impact or not," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said at a news conference. "We have not had a storm like this on the east coast for a long time."

As of 8 a.m. EDT, Matthew was about 215 miles southeast of West Palm Beach, Florida, moving at about 12 mph. It had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph and had triggered warnings for the Bahamas and much of the Sunshine State.

The storm was on track to move along Florida's coast starting Thursday night. Georgia and South Carolina could see hurricane conditions like storm surge and heavy rain by Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

If you are or have students in school in an affected state, check out the closures below:


Alachua, Baker, Marion, Union public schools: open Thursday, closed Friday

Sumter public schools: early release Thursday, closed Friday

Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Lake, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Polk, Putnam, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, St. Johns, Volusia public schools: closed Thursday and Friday

Stetson University, Valencia College, Daytona State College, University of Central Florida: closed Thursday and Friday

University of Florida: open Thursday, closed Friday

WeatherDB | Graphiq


Brantley, Charlton public schools: open Thursday, closed Friday

Ware public schools: early release Thursday, closed Friday

Camden, Effingham, Liberty, Glynn public schools: closed Thursday and Friday

Georgia Southern University: open Thursday, closed Friday

Savannah Technical College: closed Thursday and Friday

College of Coastal Georgia, Savannah College of Art and Design: closed through Sunday

South Carolina

Aiken, Allendale, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Fairfield, Georgetown, Horry, Jasper, Lee, Sumter, Williamsburg: closed Thursday and Friday

Claflin College, Midlands Technical College: closed through Sunday

University of South Carolina, Benedict College: closed Thursday and Friday