MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – With Tropical Storm Eta churning off the Gulf Coast Wednesday morning, Manatee County has issued a voluntary evacuation effective immediately for island communities and low-lying areas.
Eta is holding steady about 145 miles south-southwest of Tampa. At 1 p.m., the storm had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, making it a strong tropical storm.
The storm has forced a number of closures and cancellations in the Tampa Bay area.
Public school buildings in Manatee County will be closed on Thursday and Friday, and students will transition to remote learning.
The county plans to open emergency shelters at Manatee High School and Mills Elementary.
Sandbags are also available to be residents, and can be picked up at the Public Works Annex, 1411 9th St. W. in Bradenton.
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