As Hurricane Ian intensified into a Category 4 storm Wednesday morning, the city of Gainesville and Alachua County released closure updates.
The updates include the following:
RTS bus service: The city’s Regional Transit System is currently operating reduced bus service, but will stop at 9 p.m. Wednesday. It may resume Friday depending on weather and road conditions. Information is available on the GNVrideRTS app (rideRTS.app), on the RTS Facebook page or on the RTS website.
Refuse Collection: Residential trash collection has been suspended for Thursday and may be collected Saturday; otherwise, it will be picked up next week as regularly scheduled. Residents are asked not to set containers or items curbside on Thursday.
Parking Facilities: Free parking for those who need to store their vehicles is available at the SW Parking Garage (105 SW Third St.) through Friday.
Closed: City of Gainesville offices and facilities, and Gainesville Regional Utilities’ (GRU) lobby and drive-thru.
GRU sent a release Wednesday asking residents to conserve water usage as rainfall inundates the wastewater treatment system will fill up the collection system and pipes. The tips include:
- Only run your dishwasher when necessary.
- Only run your clothes washer when necessary.
- Avoid long showers or baths.
- Only flush your toilet when necessary.
If you experience a sewer backup or overflow, call GRU at 352-334-2711.
All area school districts are closed Wednesday through Friday.
On Tuesday, Alachua County listed office closures from Wednesday through Friday that include:
- Alachua County Public Schools
- The University of Florida
- Santa Fe College
- The Alachua County Tax Collector
- The Alachua County Supervisor of Elections
- The City of Gainesville
- The Alachua County Library District
- The Alachua County Property Appraisers
- Alachua County Sheriff's non-essential employees
- Eighth Circuit Court (see details below)
All Eighth Circuit Court events in Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, and Union Counties are canceled from Wednesday at noon and through Friday.
There are no changes to the first appearance, shelter and detention hearing protocol in Alachua County this week.
The Suwannee River Water Management District announced the closure of all district lands in Alachua, Bradford, Dixie, Levy, Union and coastal Jefferson and Taylor counties starting at noon on Wednesday.
The closures come as the National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm watch for North Central Florida with peak winds projected between 20 and 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 45 mph. A flood watch is in effect with peak rainfall expected to reach 6 to 10 inches.
The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved on Tuesday an evacuation order for residents living in mobile homes, manufactured homes, RVs and in other at-risk areas.
The order is currently not mandatory, which means there is not an enforcement mechanism, but county officials are encouraging people in homes that are vulnerable to wind damage or flooding to seek shelter elsewhere.
The county has opened four emergency shelters: one for people with special needs, two that are pet friendly, and one that is a people-only shelter.