Floridians are used to having days off from work and school for hurricanes, but Mother Nature has thrown an icy curveball.
Several counties across central and northern Florida have closed down schools ahead of a winter blast that is supposed to bring ice and rain — and potentially snow — on Wednesday and Thursday.
“The ice could result in slippery conditions on sidewalks, roads and bridges, including during the morning commute on Wednesday,” according to a winter weather advisory issued by the National Weather Service in Jacksonville.
In Manatee County, temperatures will drop to the upper 30s. No snow or ice is expected.
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Some school districts are not taking any chances.
Leon County Public Schools, which includes Tallahassee, made the decision Tuesday to shut down operations Wednesday.
“As you may be aware, the National Weather Service is forecasting a wintry mix of weather for the Leon County area overnight and into the morning tomorrow,” the district posted on Facebook. “In an abundance of caution and with the safety of our students and staff in mind, we have made the decision to close all Leon County Schools for tomorrow Wednesday, January 3, 2018.”
Tuesday afternoon, Alachua County Public Schools, the school district around Gainesville, announced it would shut down on Wednesday and Thursday. The district said it makes its decision to close down on a case-by-case basis, the Gainesville Sun reported.
“Based on a weather advisory issued by the National Weather Service at 3:16 p.m. today, Alachua County Public Schools and offices will be closed tomorrow, January 3 and Thursday, January 4 and reopen on Friday, January 5th,” the district tweeted.
The district later posted the county will likely see “freezing rain and slippery roads on Wednesday morning and black ice Thursday morning.”
“This would be a significant hazard for buses and for students heading to school on the roadways,” the district said. “Closing schools is not a decision we make lightly. We recognize that it’s a real headache for families, but safety has to be the first consideration.”
Florida A&M University (main campus and Crestview and Jacksonville campuses), Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College all will be closed Wednesday, according to WTXL in Tallahassee.
Other districts that closed their schools include Marion County Public Schools, Gadsden County Schools and Hamilton County Schools, according to WTXL. They’re in Central or North Florida.