With Tropical Storm Nicole approaching the east coast of Florida and high winds expected to hit Polk County Wednesday evening, Polk County Public Schools has announced that all schools and offices will be closed on Thursday. In addition, after-school events on Wednesday have been cancelled.

Schools were already scheduled to be closed on Friday in observance of Veterans Day.

One event that has not been cancelled is the Lakeland Food Truck Rally at Munn Park, scheduled for Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. Organizers said on Facebook around 2 p.m. Wednesday, “The Rally for Second Thursday is on and be sure to look out for hurricane party specials from local businesses in downtown Lakeland all evening as well.”

Lakeland Regional Health said on social media that all its locations would operate under normal conditions during the storm.

Polk State College will close all operations Thursday, including remote and online classes. Campus events on Wednesday evening and Thursday have been cancelled, including the College Open House, which will be rescheduled.

Southeastern University has cancelled in-person classes starting at 2 p.m. Wednesday and offices will be closed on Thursday. Online classes will be maintained as scheduled. A Friday re-opening is anticipated.

Florida Southern College cancelled all classes starting at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday with operations expected to resume on Friday.

The Schools of McKeel Academy have canceled class on Thursday but Friday classes are planned.

Sandbags will be available from Polk County road maintenance units on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lakeland-area locations are 8970 N. Campbell Road, Lakeland (863) 815-6701, and 900 NE 5th St., Mulberry, (863) 519-4734.

City of Lakeland offices will be closed Thursday, along with all parks, libraries, cemeteries and the Cleveland Heights Golf Course. Also on Friday, recreation centers, libraries, and administrative offices are closed for Veterans Day. 

Lakeland solid waste collection scheduled for Thursday will happen on Friday. Friday customers will be serviced on Saturday.

LkldNow’s News Aid benefit concert scheduled for Thursday has been postponed. The new date is Friday, Dec. 30. It will be held at Union Hall at 6:30 p.m. and admission will be offered to all who donate at least $20 during November and December, the NewsMatch period when donations are matched 100%.

COhatch, a new co-working space downtown, has postponed its grand opening scheduled for Thursday night and will announce a new date shortly.

Polk Museum of Art will close on Thursday and plans to reopen Friday.

The Lakeland Code Enforcement Board has cancelled its Thursday morning meeting.

Bonnet Springs Park closed at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and plans to reopen on Friday.

Florida Children’s Museum at Bonnet Springs Park closed at noon Wednesday and plans to reopen on Friday.

Pace Center for Girls‘ Posh Purse Party has been postponed from Thursday night to Nov. 30 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Grasslands Golf & Country Club. 

A PCPS note to families and employees reads:

Dear families,

Like you, our team is closely monitoring the forecasts for Tropical Storm Nicole.

The current track shows that we can expect tropical storm-force winds (ranging from 58 to 73 mph) to begin impacting our area on Wednesday evening.

Our greatest concern is the safety of our students and staff. High wind speeds affect our ability to operate school buses safely. The Florida Department of Education recommends that school buses not operate when wind speeds exceed 35 to 40 mph.

Based on the forecast, and out of an abundance of caution, Superintendent Fred Heid has decided to cancel school on Thursday, Nov. 10. All after-school activities are canceled Wednesday and Thursday.

Again, based on the current forecast, school will take place tomorrow, Nov. 9. All PCPS schools and offices will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 10.

Please remember that our schools and offices will also be closed on Friday, Nov. 11, in observance of Veterans Day.

Thank you.

SEND CORRECTIONS, questions, feedback or news tips: newstips@lkldnow.com


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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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