UF students won’t be able to put off their midterm studying with a hurricane day off. Classes will continue as planned today.
Further northwest on Tuesday, more than 180,000 people in the Florida Panhandle were under mandatory evacuation orders.
At 9 p.m. Tuesday night, UF issued an email stating that Alachua County and City of Gainesville local government offices, Alachua County Public Schools and Santa Fe College all plan to be open on Wednesday. The administration has been monitoring the storm and decided to keep classes going as scheduled, UF stated this afternoon. The university will make another announcement at 9 a.m. today, said UF spokesperson Steve Orlando.
“The plan is to remain open from here going forward,” Orlando said.
There has been no issued hurricane watch in the Gainesville area, so the impacts of the storm most likely will be minimal, Orlando said.
As of 10 p.m. today, Hurricane Michael was moving at 12 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, according to a report from the National Hurricane Center.
Florida State University is closed Tuesday until Thursday.
Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe issued a Declaration of Emergency in the city due to the expectation of damaging winds, power outages and road network disruption, according to his Facebook post.
Alachua County Public Schools tweeted they will remain open.
Ryan Lark, a 20-year-old UF chemistry senior, said Hurricane Michael isn’t going to be dangerous to Gainesville, so there shouldn’t be too much of a fuss over safety precautions.
Hurricanes are an annual occurrence in the area, and people tend to overreact, he said.
“Most of the time we get missed by the worst parts of the storm every year,” Lark said. “I know it’s better safe than sorry, but honestly I’m less inclined to evacuate every year.”
Michael was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane around 4 p.m. Tuesday, said National Weather Service Tampa Bay meteorologist Richard Rude.
The storm is located 220 miles south of Panama City and is moving to the north at 12 mph, Rude said.
“The biggest storm threat would be a storm surge on the panhandle coast,” Rude said.
When classes weren’t canceled, UF biomedical engineering freshman Lizzi Flammer said she was a bit sad.
After hearing other students talk about wanting to use the potential free time to visit home or make plans with friends, the 18-year-old thought that classes were definitely going to be canceled.
“I’m from New Jersey, so I’ve never experienced this before,” Flammer said. “ I’m not really sure how hurricanes go down and what not, but I mean I want off from class.”