TAMPA, Fla. – The following is a list of preparations Florida is taking to protect residents from tropical weather:
STATEWIDE: The state's Emergency Operations Center was open and extra Florida Highway Patrol troopers and Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents were available to be sent to counties in need. About 1,000 Florida National Guard members have been activated, and another 1,000 were being called up. Another 3,000 Guard members are on standby.
EVACUATIONS: Mandatory for visitors, nonresidents and mobile home residents in Monroe County (Florida Keys). Pinellas and Hillsborough counties have asked up to 680,000 Tampa Bay residents to evacuate from coastal or low-lying areas. Mandatory for tourists and residents of coastal areas oflades City, and points in Naples in Collier County. Voluntary for people in Glades, Levy, Charlotte, DeSoto, Taylor, and other parts of Collier County that aren't mandatory.
SCHOOL CLOSURES: Schools were closed Friday in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas and Seminole counties. In Tampa, the University of South Florida was to close Friday. The University of Central Florida in Orlando was closed Friday.
CAMPUS CLOSURES: The University of Florida, the University of South Florida and the University of Central Florida were closed Friday. Manatee Community College also was closed.
GOVERNMENT OFFICES: Local government offices in Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Polk counties were to be closed Friday. The Lakeland and Tampa branches of the 2nd District Court of Appeal will close Friday
TRANSPORTATION: The Federal Aviation Administration reported that most Florida airports were operating normally. St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport was closed Friday. Tampa International Airport is expected to stop flights at noon Friday. Flights from Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport are scheduled to take off through early Friday afternoon. Amtrak suspended train service between New York City and Miami for Friday. Amtrak's Auto Train that operates between Lorton, Va. and Sanford, Fla., is also canceled Friday.
TOLLS: All tolls have been suspended on the Veterans Expressway, the Suncoast Parkway, the Crosstown Expressway and the Polk Parkway. Tolls are also suspended on eastbound Interstate 75/Alligator Alley in South Florida, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge across the mouth of Tampa Bay and the Pinellas Bayway in both directions. Tolls were reinstated Friday on the northbound Florida's Turnpike in Miami-Dade and southern Broward counties on Friday.
SPORTS: The minor league Sarasota Red Sox postponed its Friday game. The University of Florida's football media day scheduled for Friday was canceled.
THEME PARKS: Busch Gardens and Adventure Island in Tampa closed Friday. Orlando's major theme park resorts, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando, planned to close their parks in the early afternoon. Disney's Animal Kingdom didn't open at all. The parks planned to reopen Saturday, spokeswoman Jacquee Polak said.