BARTOW, Fla. – The National Weather Service has upgraded Polk County’s storm status to tropical storm warning.
Hurricane Matthew’s impact will begin to be felt early afternoon on Thursday, Oct. 6, with the heaviest winds beginning in the evening. Polk will experience tropical force winds of 40-50 miles an hour with gusts of up to 75 mph. This should continue throughout the night and all day Friday. Residents in low-lying areas should make plans now to protect property from potential flood damage as already saturated areas may see heavier-than-normal rainfall with possible local flooding. One to three inches of rain is expected.
Polk County School Board has announced that schools will be closed all day Thursday and Friday. As of today, Polk County government offices will remain open.
Polk County Emergency Management urges residents to activate their own hurricane preparation plans. Residents should also make sure they have adequate supplies of necessary medications and that they have an evacuation and/or sheltering plan for both their family and pets should it become necessary.
Polk County Emergency Management has activated the Emergency Operations Center at a level two, begun preliminary emergency initiatives and will continue actively monitoring Hurricane Matthew until it no longer presents any threat to Polk County.
For the most updated information, please continue to monitor your local news media or call the Citizen’s Information Line at 863-401-2234 (locally) or toll-free 1-866-661-0228. Information is also available on PGTV (Bright House 644, Comcast 5 or Verizon 20), or check the county website for updates www.polk-county.net. You may also obtain further emergency information atwww.facebook.com/polkcountyem and www.twitter.com/polkemergency.