PORT ST. JOE — A combination of the uncertainty of Hurricane Dorian's path and the still-fresh wounds from Hurricane Michael, Gulf County District schools will be closed Tuesday, Superintendent Jim Norton announced this morning.
"We are receiving a lot of questions regarding the weather and its potential impact on our schools," Norton said in a news release. "It is simply too early to tell what route Hurricane Dorian may eventually take ... but as we have so painfully learned, our area is not immune."
Meanwhile, Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt said via Twitter that officials here are also tracking the storm closely but do not yet have enough information to make a final decision on Tuesday.
"We are as anxious about this storm as you are and we're watching it closely and working with Bay County EOC," Husfelt Tweeted. "We have confidence in their ability to guide us. We don't have enough information about the storm's track to make a decision about closing school on Tuesdays."
Husfelt said the district hopes to have enough information about the storm by Saturday to make a decision about school on Tuesday, and that if the county opens up storm shelters the district is prepared.
In Gulf County, Norton noted that Gov. Ron DeSantis has put Florida in a state of emergency and that the Gulf County Commission has also declared a local state of emergency.
"Given the uncertainty of the storm’s track and the fact that we continue to reel from Hurricane Michael emotionally, physically and financially, we have made the decision to close our schools on Tuesday," Norton said, adding the decision was made with the "emotional and physical safety of our students and staff" in mind. "I pray for beautiful skies and sunshine as we celebrate Labor Day and that the only effect Dorian has on us is the gift of additional time with family."
Dorian, for now, is forecast to strike southeast Florida early Tuesday morning as a Category 4 storm before turning north, essentially moving up the center of the state toward Georgia.