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Hurricane Matthew Closes Schools, Government Offices In Tampa Bay Area

Hurricane Matthew Closes Schools, Government Offices In Tampa Bay Area  

Though the worst from Hurricane Matthew will be felt on the east coast, the storm is having effects on the Tampa Bay area.

Polk, Hernando, Citrus, Sumter and Highlands counties are under a tropical storm warning, meaning tropical storm conditions are likely.  Sustained winds in these areas in the 40-50 mph range with gusts to 60-65 miles per hour possible.

The west coast of Florida is under a tropical storm watch from south of Sarasota north the Panhandle.

For much of the Tampa Bay area, sustained winds of 20-30 miles per hour are expected with higher gusts, especially in rain bands on the fringes of Matthew. Higher winds and seas are expected over the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay tonight and Friday with the possibility of tropical storm force wind gusts.

Here’s a list of closures and other need-to-know information as Matthew approaches:

SCHOOLS

Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, Hernando, Polk and Citrus county schools will be closed Friday.

In Pinellas and Pasco Counties, after school events, such as football games, are also canceled Friday.

Pasco-Hernando State College campuses will be closed and all classes are canceled on Friday.

The Florida A&M University satellite campus in Tampa will be closed for the remainder of the week and are expected to reopen on Monday, October 10, 2016.

The University of Florida has postponed its Saturday football game against Louisiana State University.

GOVERNMENT OFFICES:

State offices in Highlands and Polk counties are closed Friday.

The Pinellas County Tax Collector offices at 743 South Pinellas Avenue, Suite #A-7, in Tarpon Springs and at 1067 62nd Avenue South in St. Petersburg will be closed Friday.

Offices of The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties are closed Friday.

The Citrus County Sheriff's Office buildings and all county buildings will be closed Friday.

Head Start and Early Head Start centers in Hillsborough County are closed Friday.

All other offices and facilities are open in Hillsborough.

The following Pasco County government offices are closed: Clerk and Comptroller, courts, Health Department and Tax Collector’s office in Dade City.

The following municipality offices in Pasco are also closed: St. Leo, San Antonio, Dade City, Zephyrhills

SANDBAGS:

Tampa sandbag sites are open from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. until further notice:

*Bobby Hicks Pool

*Barksdale Active Adult Center

*Jackson Heights Playground

Pasco County sandbag sites are open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. until further notice:

* West Pasco Government Center, 7356 State Street, New Port Richey

* C-Barn, 30908 Warder Road, San Antonio

* Dade City Police Dept., 38042 Pasco Ave., Dade City

* Mitchell Park, 4825 Little Road, New Port Richey

* Land O' Lakes Rec Center, 3032 Collier Pkwy, Land O' Lakes

* Fire Station, 6907 Dairy Road, Zephyrhills

Manatee County sandbag sites will open from 1 p.m.-6 p.m today and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday:

* Buffalo Creek Park, 7550 69th St. E., Palmetto                                 

* G.T. Bray Park, 5502 33rd Ave. Dr. W., Bradenton                 

* Lakewood Ranch Park, 5350 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton  

* Stormwater Ops, 5511 39th St. E., Bradenton                              

* Rubonia Community Center, 1309 72nd St. E., Palmetto                                

SHELTERS:

Pasco County has issued a voluntary evacuation order for residents in manufactured homes east of I-75. The County is opening a shelter for residents at Wiregrass High School in Wesley Chapel starting at 7 p.m. tonight. They've been asked to eat before heading to the shelter, as meals won't be provided until tomorrow morning.

Hillsborough County has opened seven shelters for residents whose homes are vulnerable to wind damage, as well as evacuees from other Florida counties who can't find shelter elsewhere.
The shelters are at:
* Burnett Middle School, 1010 N. Kingsway Road in Seffner (dogs and cats allowed)
* Strawberry Crest High School 4691 Gallagher Road in Dover
* Tomlin Middle School, 501 N. Wilson St. in Plant City
* Pizzo Elementary School, 11701 Bull Run Road in Tampa
* Brandon High School, 1101 Victoria St. in Brandon
* Riverview High School, 11311 Boyette Road in Riverview (special medical needs and general population)
* Summerfield Crossings Elementary, 11050 Fair Meadows Drive in Riverview

Polk County Emergency Management has activated the Emergency Operations Center at a level two, begun preliminary emergency initiatives and will continue actively monitoring Hurricane Matthew until it no longer presents any threat.

Hernando County Emergency Management Officials opened a shelter at The Mining Association Enrichment Center, 800 John Gary Grubbs Boulevard, Brooksville.

Citrus County opened shelters at Lecanto Primary School, 3790 W. Educational Path Lecanto; and Renaissance Center, 3630 W. Educational Path, Lecanto.

The Salvation Army is serving meals at the Florida State Fairgrounds for people seeking shelter from the east coast. The nonprofit is also stocking its mobile feeding units with food to serve 500 meals. The will deploy to the east coast as soon as conditions are safe.

CLOSURES

Hernando County Parks and Recreation Department closed Pine Island Park at noon today.

Pasco County Parks and Natural Resources camping areas at Crews Lake, Wilderness Park, J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park, and Withlacoochee River Park are closed until further notice.

All parks will be closed on Friday with the exception of the ungated Rogers Park, Bayport Park, Jenkins Creek and the Hernando Beach boat ramp. All parks are expected to re-open Saturday.

The City of Tampa will open all Recreation facilities from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday free of charge. A light meal will be provided.

Disney officials said on the company's website Thursday afternoon that theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, the miniature golf course and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex would close at 5 p.m. The theme park will remain closed through Friday.

Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal Citywalk close at 5 p.m. Thursday and remain closed on Friday.

Earlier Thursday, SeaWorld announced on its website that the park would close at 2 p.m. and remain closed on Friday.

OTHER TRANSPORTATION:

Orlando International Airport will close to all commercial flights at 8 p.m. Thursday, with plans to re-open Saturday.

Miami International Airport will remain open if Hurricane Matthew hits South Florida.

Hernando County Transit suspended TheBus services through Monday.

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