The University of Central Florida (UCF) announced it will suspend most activities on campus on Wednesday. The call came as university officials monitor Hurricane Idalia.
“Academic and most campus operations are suspended Wednesday, Aug. 30. Students, faculty and staff should remain indoors and off the roads during periods of possible intermittent tropical winds and weather,” reads an alert on the university’s website.
“Standard operations will continue through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, and are planned to resume Thursday, Aug. 31. Select campus dining facilities and student services will be open on Wednesday to support students who live on campus.”
The university’s first football game of the season against Kent State remains scheduled for Thursday.
UCF boasts the highest enrollment of any university in Florida. Located inland from the coast, the school held off on canceling classes until after some peers closer to the Gulf. New College of Florida and the University of Florida canceled classes on Tuesday as well.
More than 6,400 students live on campus at UCF. Students are not being evacuated.
In the same county, Orange County Schools canceled all classes and after-school activities early in the day based on weather forecasts of sustained winds greater than 35 miles per hour. The county is one of 49 covered by an emergency order by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Idalia appears on course to make landfall Wednesday morning in the Big Bend as a major hurricane with sustained winds greater than 120 miles per hour.
Hurricane warnings were issued from Indian Pass in the Panhandle south to Longboat Key in Southwest Florida.
In coastal regions, the storm is expected to bring extremely dangerous winds and storm surge.
The Orlando area suffered significant flooding last year from Hurricane Ian, even though the storm made landfall in Southwest Florida.
Idalia is forecast to remain at hurricane-force strength as it traverses Florida, bringing threats of power outages and flooding well beyond the Big Bend region.