In a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings addressed Central Floridians as the state prepares for Hurricane Idalia to make landfall Wednesday morning.
Demings said the City of Orlando’s non-essential offices and services, including City Hall, will be closed Wednesday, Aug. 30. The city anticipates resuming normal operations Thursday, depending on weather conditions.
All City of Orlando community centers, recreation centers, swan boats and pools will close at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 29, through Wednesday.
Lynx bus services end Tuesday at 11 p.m. The city anticipates resuming services Thursday.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office will be closed to the public but ready to take and respond to emergency calls.
Residential and commercial trash, yard waste and recycle pick up will not occur Wednesday. It will be rescheduled to Saturday, Sept. 2.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Idalia is forecast to strengthen to a Category 3 hurricane by the time it reaches Florida’s Gulf coast. Demings stressed that while Orlando is not expected to face the brunt of the storm, the area is expected to experience siginificant winds and significant rain. The most critical time for the area, he said, will be between midnight to noon Wednesday, however, it’s largely unpredictable.
In Orange County, two special needs and two general shelters have opened to the public as of 1 p.m. Tuesday:
Barnett Park 4801 W. Colonial Drive, Orlando. General/Pet friendly
South Econ Recreation Center 3850 Econlockhatchee Trail, Orlando. General/Pet friendly
Silver Star Recreation Center Magic Gym 2801 N. Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando. Special needs/Pet friendly
Goldenrod Park Recreation Center Magic Gym 4863 N. Goldenrod Road, Winter Park. Special needs/Pet friendly
The county is also offering several locations for sandbag filling. Approximately 5,000 bags were filled in the county Monday, while thousands more are expected to be filled by the end of Tuesday, Demings said.
As for major closings, Demings said the Orlando International Airport is expected to remain open, although he suspects the airport may close periodically due to weather conditions. The same goes for Orlando’s major theme parks, like Disney World and Universal Orlando, which have both released statements saying they anticipate remaining open.
Several Central Florida school districts, including Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties, have closed operations Tuesday night and all of Wednesday.
The Citizen Information Line — 407-246-HELP (4357) — will go live at 9 p.m. Tuesday, when the city’s Emergency Operations Center is activated. Residents are urged to call the line to report damage, fallen trees, broken traffic lights and for any information on the city’s response efforts.
Orlando Weekly will keep an updated list of local shelters, sandbag locations and closures.
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