Residents in Highlands County and across the Sunshine State are preparing as Tropical Storm Idalia heads north through the Caribbean. As of this morning, the storm is expected to have hurricane strength by the time it makes landfall. The track has shifted farther toward the east closer to Tampa.
Highlands County is expected to get bands of weather from this system – although currently we are not listed on the state of emergency proclamation.
Highlands County school officials are planning a meeting with other agencies this afternoon. They say it’s still too early to determine if schools should be closed or to use the facilities as hurricane shelters. Stay tuned for updates.
Sand for sandbags also is available at South George Boulevard just north of the Highlands County Emergency Operations Center. Residents should bring a shovel and a partner to help if needed. This is currently the only location with sand. County officials say there are no sandbags for distribution at this time. They may be obtained at several home improvement locations and some hardware stores.
Meanwhile, The National Hurricane Center says Idalia could be here as soon as Wednesday when it’s expected to reach the Gulf Coast. Authorities are watching to see how the storm develops.
It’s going to be a triple header for the Avon Park city council this evening. They first will convene at 4:00 for a special budget meeting.
At 5:00, the council will hold a joint session with the Community Redevelopment Agency, following a budget presentation, Mayor Garrett Anderson wants to discuss a vision and special projects for the city of Charm.
Tonight’s regular council meeting will commence at 6pm. Among other things, the council is expected to discuss an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation on the airport improvement project and will hear from consultants Florida Airport Management about appropriations they are seeking for projects at the airport.
A car fire sparked a wildfire on Dressel Road in Avon Park yesterday afternoon. According to reports, it was fully involved upon arrival and was spreading to the nearby field. Crews from West Sebring quickly brought the flames under control. The cause of the fire was ruled accidental and there were no injuries.
Speed is suspected in a crash that killed a teenager in Polk County. It happened yesterday morning at CR 540A and Quails Ridge Drive.
The sheriff’s office says Lakeland 18-year-old Luis Yadel Neves Boria was speeding when he lost control, went off the road and hit a utility pole. He died at the scene. Lakeland 18-year-old Thomas Terry was his passenger. He was airlifted to the hospital and is in critical condition.