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Hurricane Irma - Columbia County: Evening Update

September 9, 2017, 7:00 pm EST

Columbia County, FL – Hurricane Irma continues northwest away from the Northern Coast of Cuba. Hurricane Irma continues to be a severe and dangerous storm. The latest forecast track takes Irma northward over the far western part of the Florida Peninsula. Irma is expected to be a Category 1 or greater hurricane once it arrives in North Florida. Currently, the eye of the storm is projected to pass to the west of Columbia County Monday. Tropical Storm winds are anticipated to arrive in Columbia County area Sunday evening between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. 

Maximum forecasted sustained winds of 75 mph with gusts 20 to 30 mph higher are expected at the peak of the storm.   The greatest impact will take place between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday. Rain fall in Columbia County is estimated to be between 8-15+ inches during the storm.

A hurricane warning remains in effect for Columbia County, as well as a Flash Flood Watch in effect until Monday, September 11th at 10 am.
We strongly urge Columbia County residents to stay posted for updates and ensure you are prepared before the storms arrival.

Stay off the Roads: All Columbia County residents and evacuees are REQUESTED to limit their travel on roadways beginning at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, September 9. There is no mandatory curfew for Columbia County.

Volunteers Needed: Volunteers are needed for shelter operations in Columbia County. A simple background check to confirm a non-violent past is all that is needed.  Please call 386.758.1125 ext. 1605 or ext. 1710 to register.

Donations: Residents that would like to donate resources: water, non-perishable food, baby wipes, new blankets or new bedding for shelters please call 386.758.1125 ext. 1605 or ext. 1710 to coordinate drop-off and location need.

Shelters:  Six hurricane shelters will be available. Shelter locations and opening times are as follows:

NOW OPEN Richardson Community Center, 255 NE Coach Anders Ln, Lake City, FL 32055

NOW OPEN *SPECIAL NEEDS ONLY SHELTER* Westside Elementary School, 1956 Co Rd 252B, Lake City, FL 32024

NOW OPEN Ft. White High School, 17828 FL-47, Fort White, FL 32038 - Opening Saturday, September 9 at 2:00 p.m.

NOW OPEN *Pet Friendly Shelter* Winfield Community Center, 1324 N W Winfield St, Lake City, FL 32055 - Opening Saturday, September 9 at 2:00 p.m. *Pets must be in crates. Pets on leashes or without a crate will not be permitted.

NOW OPEN Richardson Sixth Grade Academy, 646 SE Pennsylvania St, Lake City, FL 32025 - Opening Saturday, September 9 at 2:00 p.m.
NOW OPEN Pinemount Elementary School, 324 S W Gabriel Pl, Lake City, FL 32024 - Opening Saturday, September 9 at 2:00 p.m.

Suwanee Valley Electric: Suwannee Valley Electric is NOT shutting power off during the storm.  Please disregard rumors and verify information with Columbia County Emergency Operations Center at 386.719.7530.


Schools:  Columbia County Schools will be closed Monday September 11 and Tuesday, September 12.

Citizen Information Center (CIC):  The Columbia County Citizen Information Center (CIC) opened at 8:00 a.m. Friday, September 8, and remain open 24/7 throughout the duration of the event. The hotline number is 386-719-7530.

Interstate I-75: The southbound lane of I-75 has NOT transitioned to northbound lanes.  All lanes remain in normal operating directions.

Waste Pick-up: The Columbia County Landfill will be closed Monday, September 11, and per Waste Pro there will be no garbage collection on Monday.  Waste collection will be completed one day behind normal schedule. The landfill will be open the following Saturday, September 16.

Florida Gateway College: All colleges be closed on Friday September 8th and Monday September 11th due to the circumstances surrounding Hurricane Irma. Florida Gateway College expects to be open on Tuesday, September 12th.

Sandbags:  Columbia County will distribute sandbags Friday, September 8 – Sunday, September 10, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. each day at three locations. Up to 15 bags per vehicle will be provided, however, citizens will be responsible for filling the bags with sand. Sand and shovels will be provided on site as well.

Columbia County Public Works, 607 NW Quinten St, Lake City, FL 32055 (Elderly Assistance at this location only)

Columbia County Fairgrounds, 438 FL-247, Lake City, FL 32055

Ft. White Community Center, 17579 FL-47, Fort White, FL 32038

Local Government Agencies: Columbia County Board of County

Commission non-essential offices will be closed Monday, September 11.

Evacuees: Please be cognizant of evacuees from other parts of Florida.  Traffic in Columbia County on interstates, state roads, and local roads has increased substantially.  Please use caution and allow plenty of time to travel to your desired location.

Columbia County will provide an update as additional information becomes available.