© 2024 Central Florida Public Media. All Rights Reserved.
90.7 FM Orlando • 89.5 FM Ocala
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Shelter openings, school closures and more in Central Florida ahead of Hurricane Ian

Credit: National Weather Service
Credit: National Weather Service

Note: This article is being updated continually, with information from counties thoughtout Central Florida.

Central Florida is preparing for Hurricane Ian's impacts beginning Wednesday.

Recommended preparations include reviewing your hurricane plan, including your evacuation zone; checking your hurricane kit; and stocking up on supplies, such as food, fuel and batteries, water, and medicine.

Several Central Florida governments and institutions have made announcements regarding storm prep, including shelters, school closures, sandbag distribution and help lines. Here's that information.


Beacon College

Beacon College classes will be cancelled at least on Wednesday and Thursday.

On-campus students are directed to shelter in place in campus facilities that have been rated for hurricane resistance.

Off-campus students can shelter in place on campus in hurricane-resistant facilities if they feel more comfortable there. They should call Residence Life at 352-254-1049 before Wednesday at 9 a.m.


The campus is being evacuated and classes canceled on Monday. On Tuesday , classes will resume remotely online. Students and staff are told to check the university website for updates on when face-to-face instruction will resume.

Florida A&M University

FAMU has canceled classes this week at several of its campuses, including Wednesday through Friday at the College of Law in Orlando and Tuesday through Friday at its Central Florida pharmacy sites.

Full Sail

Full Sail’s campus will be closed Wednesday and Thursday. All campus students are asked to remain off campus.

The current plan is to reopen on Friday at 9 a.m.

Rollins College

The Rollins campus will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Residential halls will close at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Then the college will be closed on Thursday and Friday.

The Monday announcement by Rollins says: "Classes are scheduled for today and tomorrow, but we know that students have begun traveling and have asked that faculty be flexible and accommodating regarding this week’s classes. "

Stetson University

At the DeLand campus, undergraduate classes and graduate classes in the College of Arts and Sciences are canceled Wednesday through Friday.

The university also announced that online graduate business courses will be moved to "asynchronous learning" for the week. Students will receive specific information this change.

University of Central Florida

UCF has announced that classes are canceled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. And university operations will be closed Wednesday and Thursday.

Rollins College will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday and remain closed Thursday and Friday. Bethune-Cookman has moved to remote classes because of the storm.

State colleges

Area state colleges also have announced storm-related closures. They include:
- College of Central Florida (Wednesday through Saturday)
- Lake-Sumter State College (Wednesday through Friday)
- Daytona State College (Wednesday and Thursday)
- Polk State College (Tuesday through Thursday)
- Seminole State College (Tuesday through Sunday)
- Valencia College (Wednesday through Sunday)


Public schools throughout Central Florida are shutting this week due to Hurricane Ian.

Many of them are being used as emergency shelters.

The school districts in Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Sumter, and Volusia counties announced no classes through Thursday.

Lake, Marion and Seminole County public schools will be closed all week.

You can find more information on the Florida Department of Education website.


LYNX buses will be off the streets in Central Florida beginning at 10:30 Wednesday morning.

The decision is in response to a request from emergency managers to keep all roads clear for emergency situations.

The Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority says it has bus drivers on standby and will re-establish service as quickly as possible after the storm.


Brevard County

Brevard County is opening three shelters at 10 a.m. Wednesday for Hurricane Ian evacuees.

They are the Max K. Rodes Community Center and Wickham Park Community Center in Melbourne and the Walter Butler Community Center in Cocoa.

They're for people who live in flood-prone or low-lying areas who may need safe harbor.

All three locations are pet-friendly and can shelter people with special needs.

For more information on storm prep in Brevard County, call the 2-1-1 hotline.

Lake County

Lake County has a Citizens Information Line in response to Ian. Residents needing information should call 352-253-9999. The line will be open, at least on Monday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Lake County has announced an early release date for public schools on Tuesday and school closures on Wednesday through Friday.

The county will open eight emergency shelters at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The Lake County shelters include five special needs sites. Here they are:

Villages Elementary – 695 Rolling Acres Road, Lady Lake (special needs)
Leesburg Elementary – 2229 South Street, Leesburg (special needs)
Umatilla Elementary – 401 Lake Street, Umatilla (special needs)
Lost Lake Elementary – 1901 Johns Lake Road, Clermont (special needs)
Astatula Elementary – 13925 Florida Avenue, Astatula (special needs)
Treadway Elementary — 10619 Treadway School Rd, Leesburg
Spring Creek Charter — 44440 Spring Creek Rd, Paisley
Mascotte Charter — 460 Midway Ave, Mascotte

More shelters are opening at 6 p.m.:

Mount Dora High School – 700 N. Highland St, Mount Dora
Leesburg High School – 1401 Yellow Jacket Way, Leesburg

And others at 8 a.m. Wednesday:
East Ridge High School – 13322 Excalibur Rd, Clermont
East Ridge Middle School – 13201 Excalibur Rd, Clermont
Lost Lake Elementary School – 1901 Johns Lake Rd, Clermont
Tavares High School – 603 N. New Hampshire Ave, Tavares

Many of the Lake County locations are are pet friendly.

For details, visit lakecountyfl.gov or the county Facebook pages.

Marion County

The Marion County Division of Emergency Management is activating the Citizen Information Line, starting 1 p.m. Monday. People can call and ask any questions they have about Hurricane Ian. The number is 352-369-7500.

Officials are also encouraging residents to sign up for mobile alerts through Alert Marion. The school district announced that schools will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday. West High School will also be closed on Tuesday and students will move to remote learning for the day.

Marion County also announced plans to open shelters Tuesday and Wednesday.

West Port, 3733 SW 80th Ave., Ocala, will open as a Special Needs shelter at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. All Marion County public schools will be closed Wednesday through Friday. Emergency Management will open multiple shelters hosted by our local public schools at noon on Wednesday. General Population Shelters: - Dunnellon High: 10055 SW 180th Ave. Road, Dunnellon - Belleview Middle: 10500 SE 36th Ave., Belleview - Fort McCoy School: 16160 NE County Road 315, Fort McCoy - Hammett Bowen Jr. Elementary: 4397 SW 95th St., Ocala - North Marion Middle: 2085 W County Road 329, Citra Pet-Friendly Shelter: Vanguard High: 7 NW 28th St., Ocala The county announcement added: "Emergency Management officials encourage citizens to bring supplies to the shelters to last them for 24-48 hours, such as clothing, bedding, medications, food, water, etc. If you are bringing your pet(s) to the pet-friendly shelter, they must be caged, and you will be required to provide recent immunization documentation. Please bring whatever supplies are needed for your pets to be self-sufficient, and please pick up after them as well." Marion County residents also have access to self-serve sandbags, up to 10 per vehicle, at these locations: Dunnellon City Complex, 11808 N Ohio St, Dunnellon, Florida 34431 Wrigley Field, 405 County Rd East 316, Citra, FL East Marion Sports Complex, 14445 NE 14th Street Road, Silver Springs, FL Belleview Sports Complex, 6501 SE 107th St, Belleview FL Jervey Gantt Park, 2200 SE 36th Ave, Ocala, FL Tuscawilla Park (Reilly Arts Center), 800 NE Sanchez Ave, Ocala, FL Hampton Center, 1501 W Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, FL Martel Recycling Center, 296 SW 67th Ave Rd, Ocala, FL Marion Oaks, 294 Marion Oaks Lane, Ocala, FL (Behind the Community Center)

Orange County

Orange County will open five emergency shelters Wednesday for people needing to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Ian.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the following shelters continue to operate and are accepting evacuees:

Apopka High School (pet friendly)
Ocoee High School (no pets)
Dr. Phillips High School (no pets)
Oak Ridge High School (pet friendly)
Timber Creek High School (pet friendly)

The Oak Ridge High School shelter is no longer accepting evacuees.

ID cards are not required. Visit ocfl.net/shelters for information on what to bring with you to a shelter.

Orange County residents needing a Special Needs/Medical Shelter are asked to call 311.

The county shut down its self-serve sandbag program at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Osceola County

Sandbag operations at Osceola Heritage Park, 1211 Shakerag Road, Kissimmee, have concluded. About a quarter million sandbags were distributed, according ot the county.

Public schools will be closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Osceola County will be opening four emergency shelters at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Three are for the general population -- at Celebration High School, Kissimmee Middle School and Harmony High School.

The Council on Aging, at 700 Generation Point in Kissimmee, will serve as a special needs shelter.

There's more information at the Osceola County Facebook page.

Polk County

Polk County public schools will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

The county has announced the following "sandbag fill site" with a limit of 10 bags.

- Mulberry at 900 NE 5th St., Mulberry (863) 519-4734
- Lakeland at 8970 N. Campbell Road, Lakeland (863) 815-6701
- Fort Meade at 1061 NE 9th St., Fort Meade (863) 285-6588
- Frostproof at 350 County Road 630A, Frostproof (863) 635-7879
- Auburndale at 1701 Holt Road, Auburndale (863) 965-5524
- Dundee at 805 Dr. Martin Luther King St. SW, Dundee (863) 421-3367
- Poinciana Park at the corner of Lake Hatchineha Road and Marigold Ave. (5109 Allegheny Road)

Polk County made the following announcement regarding shelters:

Based on the current track and estimated time of arrival in Polk County of Hurricane Ian, the following public shelters will be open on Tuesday, September 27 at 12:00 p.m.:

Horizons Elementary School 1700 Forest Lake Dr, Davenport
Sleepy Hill Elementary School 2285 Sleepy Hill Rd, Lakeland
R. Bruce Wagner Elementary School 5500 Yates Rd, Lakeland
Chain Of Lakes Elementary School 7001 Hwy 653, Winter Haven
Mulberry Middle School 500 SE Martin Luther King Jr Ave, Mulberry
Spessard Holland Elementary 2342 E.F. Griffin Rd, Bartow
Auburndale High School 1 Bloodhound Trail, Auburndale
Citrus Ridge Academy 1775 Sand Mine Rd, Davenport
George Jenkins High School 6000 Lakeland Highlands Rd, Lakeland
Highlands Grove Elementary 4510 Lakeland Highlands Rd, Lakeland
Kathleen High School 1100 Red Devil Way, Lakeland
Lake Marion Creek Middle School 3055 Lake Marion Creek Dr, Poinciana
Winter Haven High School 600 6th St SE, Winter Haven

Special Needs shelters will also open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, for those residents with special medical needs. Polk County Emergency Management’s Special Needs Program is designed to provide shelter and/or transportation for residents with medical or physical conditions and/or dependent on medical electrical equipment who require assistance during an emergency. The Special Needs shelters are located at:

FDOH Polk Specialty Care Unit 1255 Brice Blvd., Bartow
McKeel Academy 1810 W. Parker St., Lakeland
Ridge Community High School 500 Orchid Dr., Davenport

Pet friendly shelters that will be open Tuesday, September 27 at 112:00 p.m. will be at

Tenoroc High School 4905 Saddle Creek Rd., Lakeland
Lake Region High School 1995 Thunder Road, Eagle Lake
Haines City High School 2800 Hornet Drive, Haines City

Pet owners must bring shot records for their pets, an airline-approved carrying case or crate and pet food.

Find more information at polk-county.net.

Seminole County

Seminole County will operate self-serve sandbag distribution sites until 7 p.m. Tuesday, when the operation is shutting down. County residents can fill up to 15 bags.
The locations area;
- Boombah Seminole County Sports Complex, Overflow Parking Lot, 3450 E. Lake Mary Blvd., Sanford, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Red Bug Lake Park, 3600 Red Bug Lake Road, Casselberry, which opens at 11 a.m.
- Softball complex, 2200 North St., Altamonte Springs, which opens at 11 a.m.

The county also lists sandbag sites in several cities:
- Altamonte Springs Eastmonte Park, 830 Magnolia Drive, Altamonte Springs (Off of S. Ronald Reagan Boulevard), 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Altamonte Springs Westmonte Park, 624 Bills Lane, Altamonte Springs (Off of Spring Oaks Drive), 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Lake Mary Sports Complex, Ballfield Parking Lot, 440 Rantoul Lane, Lake Mary, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Oviedo Public Works maintenance yard, 1725 Evans Street, Oviedo (Evans Street Public Works Compound), 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- Sanford Public Works facility, 800 West Fulton Street, Sanford, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Seminole County also announced that it will offer pet adoptions for $1 in an effort to "clear the shelter" before potential impacts from Ian. You can view the animals at www.seminolecountypets.com or during adoption hours of Monday and Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Wednesday, the hours will be extended to 6:30 p.m.

You can sign up for automatic emergency notificationsthrough Alert Seminole.

Sumter County

Sumter County declared a local state of emergency on Monday ahead of Hurricane Ian.

Emergency managers are recommending that residents of The Villages shelter in-place during Hurricane Ian.

Evacuations are recommended for Sumter residents in manufactured homes and flood-prone areas, anyone with special needs and those who feels unsafe by themselves.

Sumter County is opening emergency shelters at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Sumter Fairgrounds in Webster and Wildwood Elementary School.

A special needs shelter will open at the Wildwood Community Center at 3 p.m.

All the shelters are pet-friendly.

The county announced that self-service sand and bags will wrap up at noon Wednesday at the Lake Panasoffkee Regional Recreation Park. Residents should bring proof of residence and their own shovel. There's a limit of 10 bags.

Sumter County residents may wish to sign up for mobile alerts from Alert Sumter.

The school district announced early dismissal on Tuesday and school closures on Wednesday and Thursday.

Volusia County

Volusia County's Citizens Information Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday.
Residents can call 866-345-0345 for information on sandbags, disaster preparation and community resources.

Residents may also wish to sign up for mobile notifications through AlertVolusia.

The county updates sandbag information at volusia.org/pin.




Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.