UPDATE (4:51 p.m.):
Gainesville officials announced that city offices will remain open on Thursday, but parks will close for the day ahead of Tropical Storm Nicole. City offices will close Friday for Veterans Day.
The city has moved its residential trash pickup scheduled for Thursday to Friday. The city asks that residents not place trash by the road on Thursday.
Gainesville bus service will also close at 9 p.m. on Wednesday and not reopen until Friday on a holiday schedule. Find details at the Regional Transit Service (RTS) website.
Alachua County activated its 311 line for questions and rumor control. You can call by dialing 311 or 352-264-6557.
The county has also opened a special needs shelter at the Gainesville Senior Center.
Our original story (1:39 p.m.):
Tropical Storm Nicole continues to target Florida’s Atlantic Coast and looks to impact Port St. Lucie as the storm heads northwest across the state.
Officials also expect the storm to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane at landfall before weakening to a tropical storm again. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) projects the storm to veer north once over Florida before tracking northeast into Georgia.
Alachua County declared a local state of emergency on Wednesday morning as North Central Florida officials begin preparations and cancelations. Alachua County will most likely start receiving gusts of wind late Wednesday night and into Thursday morning.
The storm will hit harder with wind than rain for most of North Central Florida. NHC expects Nicole to release less than 4 inches of rain in the area. Alachua County will see sustained winds up to 50 mph with possible gusts up to 70 mph.
The National Weather Service said several tornadoes are possible east of I-75 with a few tornadoes possible west of the interstate. At its 11 a.m. update on Wednesday, the service also added Columbia, Union, Suwannee and Baker counties to the tropical storm warning list.
Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS) announced Tuesday that classes would be canceled Thursday because of the storm and Friday because of Veterans Day, leading to a four-day weekend. The school system recently announced a revised schedule to help students recuperate from time off during Hurricane Ian.
The Alachua County Library District (ACLD) will be closing its branches at 5 p.m. on Wednesday and will be closed on Thursday for the storm and on Friday for Veterans Day. ACLD will reopen for its normal operation hour on Saturday.
Veterans Day celebrations have also been cut. Alachua County canceled its annual celebration at Veterans Memorial Park and Lake City also cut its annual Veterans Day Parade.
Gov. Ron DeSantis placed 34 counties under a state of emergency on Tuesday, and President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for Florida on Wednesday morning, opening up federal assistance.