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Orange County Leaders Prepare for Hurricane Dorian

It's time to get an emergency plan in place. Photo: National Hurricane Center Twitter
It's time to get an emergency plan in place. Photo: National Hurricane Center Twitter

Shelters will open in Orange County this weekend. 

Twelve shelters which can house about 6,000 people will be available as needed in Orange County starting on Sunday. 

Emergency Manager Keith Kotch says people in general shelters will be provided a floor space-and should keep their bedding to a minimum.

"For the special needs shelter. There’s a larger space provided. And there’s also a space provided for your caretaker. If you’re a special needs client we want you to bring your caretaker if you have one. They are welcome to come with you. Also for those special needs shelters your pets are welcome to come with you too."

Kotch recommends people also bring food, water, and items to entertain children.

People with disabilities can still register to use special needs shelters on the Florida SERT website.

County Mayor Jerry Demings says the county has still not put a curfew in place to allow businesses-and daily life-to continue operating normally. 

"Typically curfews are put in place at the highest level of the storm and then post-storm. And if we can prolong the period of time before we go into any type of curfew that is I think most desirable for this community."

The Orlando Police Department says if a curfew is put in place people will not be allowed on public streets, highways or other common areas while it’s still in effect.

The curfew would not apply to people seeking medical assistance or the first responders and medical professionals providing this care. 

But Orange County Public Schools has already closed through Tuesday. 

Board Chair Teresa Jacobs says parents should be watching their school email and reading the OCPS Connect newsletter for additional delay or closure information.

"Immediately as soon as the winds die down to where we can be safely back out on the roads. Our maintenance team will go out. They’ll inspect every school to make sure that every school is safe for occupancy. And as soon as we know that then we will alert families if they need to keep their children out of any school that might have damage."

She says alternatives to free and reduced lunch programs will continue to offer students food throughout the storm.

OCPS classrooms will be used for shelters as needed-and custodial and food services will be available in the buildings.
For more information on Hurricane Dorian,  download the Florida Storms app.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.