Hurricane warning issued for Gainesville as Hurricane Irma shifts further west

The National Hurricane Center.

The National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning for the Gainesville area Saturday as Hurricane Irma continues to track west.

The latest models show Irma hugging the west coast of the Florida peninsula. Forecasters say Irma could be a Category 1 or 2 hurricane by the time it reaches North Central Florida. Hurricane force winds are possible, especially to areas west of Interstate 75. Forecasters warn the storm could shift back east. The most serious time of impact is late Sunday through Monday.

Officials in Alachua, Gilchrist, Levy, Columbia and Marion counties are urging residents to find a safe place to shelter.

Alachua County is under a voluntary evacuation, especially for people in flood-prone areas or in mobile homes. The sheriff's office says no curfew has been issued.

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