Hillsborough Co. extends school closures through Friday

The added day will allow staff time to clean and prepare classrooms for students to return Monday.

The Hillsborough County School District has extended closures through Friday in response to Hurricane Ian, Superintendent Addison Davis announced Wednesday.

Davis said the added day will allow staff time to clean and prepare classrooms for students to return on Monday.

“Please stay vigilant and take care of yourselves and your families as we get through this storm together,” Davis wrote in a tweet announcing the decision.

At the start of the week, Davis announced that schools would be closed from Monday through Thursday. The closures allowed school bus drivers to transport residents to shelters.

Currently, Hillsborough County has mandatory evacuation orders for Zones A and B to prepare for the hurricane. Zone B extends into areas of South Tampa, Westchase, and Town ’n’ Country, and Zone A wraps around the coast of the bay. Zone A also includes all mobile or manufactured homes and those in low-lying areas. Evacuation zones can be found here.

Officials expect the mandatory evacuations to affect about 390,000 residents between Zone A and Zone B. Evacuation zones can be found here.

Hurricane Ian rapidly intensified off Florida’s Southwest coast Wednesday morning, gaining top winds of 155 mph, just shy of the most dangerous Category 5 status. Damaging winds and rain lashed the state’s heavily populated Gulf Coast, with the Naples to Sarasota region at “highest risk” of a devastating storm surge.

U.S. Air Force hurricane hunters confirmed Ian gained strength over warm Gulf of Mexico water after battering Cuba, bringing down the country’s electricity grid and leaving the entire island without power. Ian was centered about 65 miles (105 kilometers) west-southwest of Naples at 7 a.m., swirling toward the coast at 10 mph.

Heeding meteorologists, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in 24 counties Friday afternoon and President Joe Biden authorized FEMA to make resources available to the state for storm prep dating back to Sept. 23.

DeSantis on Saturday expanded the state of emergency to cover all of Florida.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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