Tropical Storm Elsa Drenches North Central Florida


Local School And Community Service Closures

As of 10 a.m. this morning, Santa Fe College officials are not seeing any evidence of damage from Tropical Storm Elsa at the northwest campus. Santa Fe is closed for today but anticipates being able to reopen on Thursday.

A reminder of the University of Florida’s main campus is closed for today. Only essential personnel should report for work. Classes will resume, and campus will reopen tomorrow.

Meridian Healthcare services are closing their doors for the day due to Tropical Storm Elsa.
This closure includes all outpatient and administrative locations.

Crisis emergency services will remain open in Gainesville and Lake City, and Telehealth is also available.
Meridian officials anticipate returning to normal operations at all Meridian locations on Thursday.

Alachua County Public Schools summer meal program is cancelled today, and there is no confirmation yet if that program will be back tomorrow. Marion County Public Schools is closing today too, along with its meal program, and employees are supposed to work from home if they can.

Alachua County officials are expecting tropical storm force winds to reach the area later in the morning.
County officials are telling residents to watch out for downed power lines. They can be dangerous because they aren’t insulated like power cords, and there are no indications that electricity is emitting from them.

Officials say to always assume that they are electrified, and to maintain distance.
Anyone who sees a downed power line should contact 911.


Elsa’s Impact On The Homeless

Tropical Storm Elsa is having an impact on many people across North Central Florida this morning, but for the homeless community, it could be life or death. St. Francis House Executive Director Lauri Schiffbauer says the Gainesville homeless shelter spent the past day preparing food, supplies and other services.

Schiffbauer says there have been added complications because of COVID-19 precautions, which has cut their capacity down from 60 to 30.

Grace Market Place is opening its doors as an emergency storm shelter for the homeless, and they will be operating above capacity. The shelter will administer COVID-19 tests to those entering the shelter.


Power Outage Protocols

No power outages have been reported for Ocala Electric customers as of 6 a.m., but utility officials want customers to be aware of what they can do if they lose power. To report an outage, Ocala Electric customers can download the MyUsage App, report the outage online at the utility’s website or text the word OUT to 352-877-2211.

If power is restored, customers are urged to leave a light on outside that would be visible to crews working in the area.

Customers are also urged to not run generators in the home or garage to prevent possible suffocation. They shouldn’t be hooked up to the home’s main electrical system, which could be hazardous to workers.

In Ocala, SunTran services are suspended. The suspension began this morning at 5 a.m., and they are expected to resume at 1 p.m., although that could change depending on the storm’s impact. That includes the green, purple, blue, orange, red, yellow and silver lives. Updates can be found on their website, or via the MyStop App.

Duke Energy is using hundreds of line trucks to help restore power to areas that experience outages due to Elsa.

In preparation for the storm, Duke Energy has more than 500 line trucks and 630 line workers in the Sumter County area to help with outages.


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