Tropical Storm Eta moves toward Duval County; schools to go online Nov. 12

Mayor Lenny Curry said evacuation orders are not expected, but the system could bring heavy rain and some wind.

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Duval County Public School will move online Nov. 12 with Tropical Storm Eta expected to impact Northeast Florida, according to Superintendent Diana Greene.

At a news conference Nov. 11 with city officials, Greene said the school district’s decision is “out of an abundance of caution” to avoid transporting students in potentially hazardous conditions. 

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said the city does not expect to issue evacuations or open shelters as Eta approaches throughout the day Nov. 12. 

Private schools and businesses are not under a city mandate to close, Curry said.

“Additional watches and warnings may need to be issued, but at this time, no watches or warnings are currently in effect for Duval County,” Curry said. “This storm will bring a slight risk of excessive rainfall and moderate to high winds throughout our area for most of the day tomorrow. Due to higher than normal tides, we may also see some flooding.” 

Greene said students will attend classes virtually using Duval HomeRoom. 

Elementary school hours are moved to 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. while secondary and Duval Virtual Instructional Academy students will begin at the regular time.

Greene said she expects in-person instruction to resume Nov. 13.

“If families lose power and are not able to access Duval HomeRoom, we will make sure they get their makeup assignments on Friday when they return back to school,” Greene said.

Tropical Storm Eta was centered 85 miles southwest of Tampa as of 6 p.m. Nov. 11, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm was moving north with sustained winds of 70 mph. 

Forecasters expect Eta to make landfall near or north of Tampa as soon as morning Nov. 12 and weaken as it moves northeast. 

Curry said peak impact for Duval County will be from 1-5 p.m.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said law enforcement and emergency management officials do not expect local bridge closures with this storm, required if sustained winds reach 40 mph.

Crews from the city Department of Public Works have been conducting preflood preparations in Duval County’s flood-prone areas, Curry said.

“I know this has been a rough year. 2020’s been something else for our country, the world and our community, and experiencing a tropical storm in our area after the end of hurricane seasons just adds to it,” Curry said. “I’m proud of the people of this city and I’m proud of how you’ve handled it.”