Hurricane Matthew: What Polk County residents need to know

Posted at 4:33 AM, Oct 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-06 08:49:00-04

People in Polk County are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst as Hurricane Matthew churns its way toward Florida.

Schools are closed for the rest of the week and several sandbag locations have been set up.

HURRICANE MATTHEW: Sandbag Locations

Polk County is expected to see about four inches of rain and people aren't taking any chances.

All of the sandbag locations across the county are open 24 hours and residents can come as needed.

The bigger concern will be the strong gusts of wind that could knock out power and send debris flying through the air.

HURRICANE MATTHEW: Closures and Alerts

Folks in Polk county will start feeling the impact of this storm by Thursday afternoon. That's why school administrators decided to cancel classes Thursday and Friday for student and faculty safety.

At this point, Polk County Emergency Management is not calling on people to evacuate, but they are telling people they should have a Hurricane plan in place. Residents should have all essential supplies like food, water and flashlights in place just in case.


The county is also setting up emergency shelters at several locations. Spook Hill Elementary in Lake Wales, Ridge community high school in Davenport and Alta Vista Elementary in Haines City.

In Bartow a shelter is being setup for the elderly and those with special needs.

Again, the biggest concern right now for people in Polk County is tropical storm force winds, with wind gusts of up to 40 to 60 miles per hour.

Emergency officials state that this is a good time to remember to bring in that outdoor furniture and put any loose items outside of your home away. Those items can be very dangerous in a storm.


From Polk County Officials: Based on the current track of Hurricane Matthew, the following shelters will be open in Polk County today, October 6, 2016 at 1 p.m.:

  • Ridge Community High School
    500 W. Orchid Dr.
  • Alta Vista Elementary*
    801 S. Scenic Highway
    Haines City
  • Tenoroc High School
    4905 Saddle Creek Rd.
  • Spook Hill Elementary
    321 Dr. J.A. Wiltshire Ave., E.
    Lake Wales
  • Chain of Lakes Elementary
    7001 CR 653
    Winter Haven

*This is a pet-friendly shelter.

A special needs shelter opened at 8:00 a.m. for those residents with special medical needs. Polk County Emergency Management Special Needs Program is designed to provide shelter and/or transportation for residents with medical or physical conditions and/or dependent on medical electrical equipment who require assistance during an emergency.

The special needs shelter open is located at:

Polk Co. Health Department
1255 Brice Blvd.

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