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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Anxious Florida residents are bracing for the worst and hoping for the best when it comes to Hurricane Matthew which is expected to bring heavy rain, high winds, high surf and potentially dangerous boating conditions.

As a result, the National Park Service has shut down all Biscayne National Park Islands due to the expected severe weather associated with Hurricane Matthew until further notice. Those park islands include Boca Chita Key, Eliott Key, and Adams Key.  The Dante Fascell Visitor Center is also being closed until further notice.

Park waters remain open for vessel transit only. Any vessels in transit in the park should use extreme caution. Severe thunderstorms, rainfall and hurricane force winds are likely even if Matthew stays off shore.

Boaters who planned to be in the park for Columbus Day weekend should reconsider such plans. Not only is Columbus Day weekend the most dangerous weekend of the year for park boaters, but the aftermath of a hurricane is often as deadly as the storm itself. Dangers include hazardous marine debris, damaged facilities, navigation aids and communications services, washed-out bridges and roads, limited emergency services, power outages, flooding and more.



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