Eta closes Marion schools Thursday


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Posted November 11, 2020 | Ocala Gazette 

Marion County Public Schools will be closed Thursday as Hurricane Eta comes ashore and sweeps over the area with gusty winds and occasionally heavy rain.

Kevin Christian, spokesman for Marion County Public Schools, confirmed just before 1 p.m. Wednesday that, although Eta is expected to weaken significantly overnight, schools will be closed in an abundance of caution.

School buses and other high-profile vehicles can become unsteady in high winds.  Schools will be open on Friday, according to Christian.

The storm is expected to come ashore north of Tampa, perhaps around Crystal River in Citrus County, about 7 a.m. Thursday and chug northeast on an arc that will take it over Marion County, said Pete Wolf, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jacksonville.

Wolf said southwest Marion will experience the greatest impacts, but even those will be fairly mild. He predicts winds of 20-30 mph, with gusts of 40 mph, and two to three inches of rain as Eta moves across Marion throughout the morning and early afternoon.

Sgt. Paul Bloom, of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, said the county’s Emergency Management Division has no plans to open shelters and will not distribute sand bags.

In addition, city of Ocala and Marion County government offices are expected at this time to remain open for business