Florida Courts Closing Ahead of Tropical Storm

     (CN) – Several Florida courts are closed or closing early Thursday ahead of the anticipated landfall of Tropical Storm Hermine, which forecasters say could be a hurricane before it comes ashore later today.
     A hurricane warning was in effect for Florida’s Big Bend from the Suwannee River to Mexico Beach. And on the East Coast, a tropical storm warning was issued for an area that extended from Marineland, Florida, northward to the South Santee River in South Carolina.
     The Florida Supreme Court, state Office of the State Courts Administrators and the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee will all close at noon Thursday and remain closed Friday.
     Meanwhile, trial courts in Taylor, Dixie and Lafayette counties will be closed for all or part of Thursday and remain closed on Friday.
     Hillsborough, Manatee, Gilchrist, Gulf, and Lee County courts will be closed Thursday, but no determination has been made in regard to Friday.
     Court in Pinellas County will be closed on Thursday, but are expected to reopen on Friday. However, the public is advised to check the court’s website for updates, its Facebook page, or to call (727) 464-4470.
     Updates on the status of all the court’s will also be posted here.
     So far, no court closures have been announced in either Georgia or South Carolina which are expected to be in the path of Hermine on Friday.
     Hermine’s maximum sustained winds Thursday morning were near 65 mph. Some strengthening was forecast and the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Hermine was expected to be a hurricane when it makes landfall in Florida on Thursday night or early Friday.
     As of 8 a.m. eastern time Thursday, Hermine was centered about 235 miles west-southwest of Tampa, Florida, and was moving north-northeast near 12 mph.
     Residents in some low-lying communities in Florida were being asked to evacuate Thursday as the storm approached.
     Emergency management officials in Franklin County have issued a mandatory evacuation notice for people living on St. George Island, Dog Island, Alligator Point and Bald Point.
     Residents in other low-lying areas prone to flooding were also being asked to evacuate.
     Illustration source: National Weather Service.

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