News Update 8/29/23

Preparations are stepping up today as Hurricane Idalia rumbles northward through the Caribbean. Forecasters still are predicting the storm will make landfall as a Category III in the big bend area of Florida.
The Highlands County Emergency Operations Center has moved to a Level 2 activation they say rain chances will increase this afternoon as the bands move onshore. Highlands County is not under any watches or warnings but could see numerous tropical storm force wind gusts.
The Highlands County school system is holding classes today. However, they will be closed tomorrow. South Florida State College is closed both today and tomorrow.
Both the Highlands County commission and the Highlands County School board held special sessions this morning and declared a state of emergency. Avon Park council took similar action at their session last night. That makes it easier to get state and federal aid in the aftermath of a storm.
Sand for sandbags remains available on West George Blvd near the Highlands County Emergency Operations Center south of Sebring. It also is available at Lakeview Memorial Gardens on Memorial Drive south of Avon Park. Residents must bring their own shovels and bags.
There are NO plans to open shelters at this time.
When it comes to garbage collection, county officials say they do not expect winds to be strong enough to close the Landfill or suspend garbage collection operations. They plan to reassess the situation this afternoon to see if collection changes need to be made.
Because higher winds are expected overnight, officials are recommending residents consider waiting to place their garbage carts out for collection until 7:00 tomorrow morning.
Some good news for those needing to stock up on hurricane supplies, the Hurricane Supply tax holiday will be on until September 8.

Units from West Sebring were called out last night to extinguish a brush fire north of Sebring. The flames off Arbuckle Creek Road reportedly came from a large pile of construction debris.
Where the pile came from and how it was ignited remains under investigation.

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