Florida school closings, toll suspensions, emergency info for Hurricane Ian

Important evacuation info for Florida residents in path of Ian

Hurricane Ian as seen from the space station. (International Space Station)

TAMPA – We’re tracking live updates on Hurricane Ian as it moves towards Florida this week. Here’s information on closures and emergency information.

Ian made landfall at 4:30 a.m. EDT Tuesday in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio province, where officials set up 55 shelters, evacuated 50,000 people, rushed in emergency personnel and took steps to protect crops in Cuba’s main tobacco-growing region. After passing over Cuba, Ian was forecast to strengthen even more over warm Gulf of Mexico waters, reaching top winds of 140 mph (225 kmh) before making landfall again. Tropical storm-force winds were expected in Florida late Tuesday, reaching hurricane force Wednesday morning.

As of Monday, Tampa and St. Petersburg appeared to be the among the most likely targets for their first direct hit by a major hurricane since 1921.

Ian’s forward movement was expected to slow over the gulf, enabling the hurricane to grow wider and stronger before it brings punishing wind and water to Florida’s west coast. Forecasters said the surge of ocean water could reach 10 feet (3 meters) if it peaks at high tide. Rainfall could total 16 inches (41 centimeters) inches with as much as 24 inches (61 centimeters) in isolated areas. Coastal communities could be inundated.

A hurricane watch was issued for Florida’s central western coast including the Tampa Bay area, where Hillsborough County suspended classes through Thursday to prepare schools to serve as shelters for evacuees. Additional watches for more northern areas along the peninsula’s west coast may be issued, Brown said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency throughout Florida and urged residents to prepare for the storm to lash large swaths of the state with heavy rains, high winds and rising seas. DeSantis said the state has suspended tolls around the Tampa Bay area and mobilized 5,000 Florida state national guard troops, with another 2,000 on standby in neighboring states. President Joe Biden also declared an emergency, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief and provide assistance to protect lives and property.

Florida school closures

The Florida Department of Education is in contact with school districts, state colleges and universities for updates and to determine needs before, during and after emergency events. All school districts, colleges and universities collaborate with local emergency preparedness officials to make decisions that ensure student and staff safety.

School closures are updated with information regarding closures as those announcements are made.

K12 School Closures

  • Charlotte County Schools will be closed Tuesday, September 27 through Thursday, September 29, 2022.
  • Citrus County Schools will be closed Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29, 2022.
  • Collier County Schools will be closed Tuesday, September 27 and Wednesday, September 28, 2022.
  • DeSoto County Schools will be closed Tuesday, September 27 through Thursday, September 29, 2022.
  • Dixie County Schools will be closed Wednesday, September 28 through Friday, September 30, 2022.
  • Gilchrist County Schools will be closed Wednesday, September 28 through Friday, September 30, 2022.
  • Glades County Schools will be closed Tuesday, September 27 through Thursday, September 29, 2022.
  • Hardee County Schools will be closed Tuesday, September 27 and Wednesday, September 28, 2022.
  • Hernando County Schools will be closed Tuesday, September 27 through Friday, September 30, 2022.
  • Hillsborough County Schools will be closed Monday, September 26 through Thursday, September 29, 2022.
  • Lake County Schools will have early dismissal on Tuesday, September 27 and will be closed Wednesday, September 28 through Friday, September 30, 2022.
  • Lee County Schools will be closed Tuesday, September 27 and Wednesday, September 28, 2022.
  • Levy County Schools will be closed Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29, 2022.
  • Manatee County Schools will be closed starting Tuesday, September 27, 2022; they do not have a reopening date at this time.
  • Marion County Schools will be closed Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29, 2022.
  • Monroe County Schools will be closed Tuesday, September 27, 2022.
  • Okeechobee County Schools will be closed Wednesday, September 28, 2022.
  • Osceola County Schools will be closed Tuesday, September 27 through Thursday, September 29, 2022.
  • Pasco County Schools will be closed Tuesday, September 27 through Friday, September 30, 2022.
  • Pinellas County Schools will be closed Tuesday, September 27 through Friday, September 30, 2022.
  • Polk County Schools will be closed Tuesday, September 27 and Wednesday, September 28, 2022.
  • Putnam County Schools will be closed Wednesday, September 28 through Friday, September 30, 2022.
  • Sarasota County Schools will be closed Tuesday, September 27, 2022.
  • Sumter County Schools will have early dismissal on Tuesday, September 27 and will be closed Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29, 2022.

Florida College System Closures

  • College of Central Florida will be closed Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29, 2022.
  • Hillsborough Community College will be closed Tuesday, September 27 through Thursday, September 29, 2022.
  • Florida South Western State College will be closed Tuesday, September 27 through Thursday, September 29, 2022.
  • Pasco-Hernando State College will be closed Tuesday, September 27 through Friday, September 30, 2022.
  • St. Petersburg College will be closed Tuesday, September 27 through Friday, September 30, 2022.
  • State College of Florida will be closed Tuesday, September 27 through Friday, September 30, 2022.

State University Closures

  • Florida A&M University will be closed Tuesday, September 27 through Friday, September 30, 2022.
  • Florida Gulf Coast University will be closed Tuesday, September 27 and Wednesday, September 28, 2022.
  • Florida State University will be closed Tuesday, September 27 through Friday, September 30, 2022. (Tallahassee & Panama City)
  • New College of Florida classes will be canceled Monday, September 26 through Friday, September 30, 2022.
  • University of Central Florida will be closed Wednesday, September 28 through Friday, September 30, 2022.
  • University of South Florida classes will be canceled Monday, September 26 through Thursday, September 29, 2022. Campuses will be closed starting Tuesday, September 27, 2022.

Florida Department of Transportation

To help Florida families safely and quickly evacuate in preparation of Hurricane Ian, tolls are now being suspended on many facilities in the projected areas of impact. Tolls will be suspended as of 12:00 PM, September 26, Monday, for the following:

  • Garcon Point Bridge in Santa Rosa County
  • Spence Parkway in Okaloosa County
  • Mid-Bay Bridge in Okaloosa County
  • Polk Parkway in Polk County
  • Suncoast Parkway in Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus counties
  • Veterans Expressway in Hillsborough County
  • I-4 Connector in Hillsborough County
  • Selmon Expressway in Hillsborough County
  • Pinellas Bayway in Pinellas County
  • Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Pinellas County
  • Alligator Alley in Collier and Broward counties

The SunRail corridor in Central Florida is being secured to prepare for the storm. SunRail services will be closed effective 8:30am on Tuesday, September 27. Updates to service can be checked here.

FDOT continues to coordinate with transportation partners on needs or planned closings.

  • Port Tampa Bay is planning to suspend operations at 8am on Tuesday, September 27.
  • Port Manatee is currently planning to remain in operations as long as it is safe to do so.
  • Tampa International Airport is planning to suspend operations at 5pm on Tuesday, September 27.
  • St. Pete/Clearwater International Airport will close at 1pm on Tuesday, September 27

Track live Hurricane Ian updates from the National Hurricane Center and Florida emergency response:


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.