Clay County closures, cancellations announced as Hurricane Ian approaches Florida

Don Johnson

A Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect for the Clay County area, according to the National Weather Service. Hurricane Ian made landfall on the Gulf side of Florida on Wednesday afternoon.

Evacuations were ordered in Clay County effective at noon Wednesday, Clay County Emergency Management Director John Ward said. The evacuations are “highly recommended,” he said. The evacuations are not considered mandatory, according to a county spokeswoman.

Ward said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that the evacuations are for zones A, B and C, as well as the North and South prongs of Black Creek.

Clay County residents should continue to monitor reports from the county’s Emergency Management Department, according to county officials.

To access Emergency Management’s Facebook page, click here.

To check your evacuation zone in Clay County or whether you are in a flood zone, click here.

To get emergency alerts from the county, click here

Call Center - For inquiries related to the storm, call 877-252-9362.

Emergency Management also has a new Instagram account. To follow on Instagram: @ClayCtyEm.

Clay County clerk branches and courthouses will be closed Wednesday through Friday and all other constitutional offices will close at noon Wednesday.

All Clay County District Schools will remain closed Wednesday through Friday, Superintendent David Broskie said. Five of the district's buildings will be used as storm shelters — Orange Park High School, Keystone Heights High School, Clay High School, Wilkinson Elementary School and Lake Asbury Junior High, which is being used as a shelter for special needs residents.

Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Clay County Fire and Rescue have called in off-duty personnel to be on the streets and assist as needed, Sheriff Michelle Cook said. Additional call takers and jail security are called in too, she said. The Clay County Jail currently houses over 400 inmates and extra security is brought in to keep them in place, she explained.

“It’s been wet and it is going to get wetter,” Clay Electric CEO Ricky Davis said at a Tuesday press conference. “Our big concern is vegetation. When tree roots get wet and those 40 mile per hour winds will lean them to one side, then to the other, weakening the base of the tree.”

Residents can go to clayelectric.com to report an outage, or through the MyClayElectric app.

Garbage Collection - Curbside collection will not occur Thursday and Friday, and Waste Management will begin normal routes on Monday. All solid waste facilities, including Rosemary Hill, will be closed Thursday and Friday and are planned to reopen Saturday, weather permitting. Residents can bring residential waste to the county's solid waste facilities when they reopen on Saturday (visit Garbage and Recycling on the county's website for locations). The Rosemary Hill Solid, Waste Management Facility, will be accepting residential yard waste at no charge from Saturday, Oct. 1 through Oct. 11, during regular operating hours of Monday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Residents must provide proof of residency with a driver’s license, lease, or utility bill. Commercial waste will be charged at normal rates. All yard waste transported in any type of commercial vehicle will be considered commercial.

The Fleming Island Saturday Market at the Village Square Shopping Center has been canceled. The next event will be held Nov. 5.

St. Johns River State College will be closed from Wednesday, Sept. 28 through Sunday, Oct. 2.

All events at the Thrasher-Horne Center are canceled and volleyball games will be rescheduled.

Performances of The Great American Trailer Park Musical by the Florida School of the Arts have been canceled for Thursday, Sept. 29 and Friday, Sept. 30. The scheduled performances for Oct. 1 and Oct. 2 will be held as scheduled, weather and power permitting. Both shows will be free to the public, the press release said.

Students enrolled at the college are encouraged to sign up for emergency notifications provided by the college. Students can sign up for alerts through their MySJRSTATE portal and click the link “register for emergency notifications.”

For those needing assistance, contact the Security Office at 386-312-4095.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3txe2p_0iDhe1Jx00
Hurricane Ian approaches Florida.Photo via National Hurricane Center

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Veteran journalist with experience in website and newspaper content as an editor and writer. I have worked as a reporter at newspapers and websites in Florida, California and Arkansas. I am a former executive editor at the Tampa Bay Business Journal and worked for 12 years at The Tampa Tribune as an enterprise editor and business editor. At Patch.com, I produced stories for 24 websites in the Tampa Bay area and also edited content for websites in six states.

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