CAROLINAS (WBTV) - Multiple school districts in the WBTV viewing area will be closed Thursday as Hurricane Michael moves closer to the Carolinas.
On Thursday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced that they will be closed for all students and staff on Friday, Oct. 12.
“Our community has been hit hard by high winds, heavy rain, downed trees and power lines from Hurricane Michael,” the statement read.
According to Duke Energy officials, 32 schools in neighborhoods across the district and nearly 82,000 residents across the Charlotte community were without lights, refrigeration, heating and cooling due to power loss.
“Duke Energy and CMS crews are working hard to restore power but crews and experts do not expect power to be restored tonight at the 32 affected schools. The full list of CMS schools without power is available on the CMS website,” the statement read.
Iredell-Statesville Schools announced that they will operate on a two-hour-delay for Friday.
Schools in Rowan-Salisbury, Cleveland County, Anson County, Chesterfield County, Chester County, Stanly County, Richmond County, Lancaster County, Union County, York School District 1, Rock Hill, Kannapolis City, Iredell-Statesville and Fort Mill will be closed Thursday as Michael continues making its way inland.
UNC Charlotte also canceled class Thursday.
Collettsville School in Caldwell County will close at 10:30 a.m. due to the area around the school being prone to flooding conditions. Happy Valley School will also close at 11 a.m due to flooding.
Michael made landfall around 1 p.m. Wednesday near Mexico Beach, Florida with 150 mph winds. Localized flooding remains a concern in Lancaster County, where between four and six inches of rain is expected. County officials urge residents to stay home.
CMS will be closed for all students and staff on Thursday, October 11.
Mecklenburg County offices and agencies will close at 2:30 p.m.
CATS Streetcar will be suspended until further notice due to inclement weather in the area.
"In an abundance of caution Chesterfield County School District will be closed Thursday October 11, 2018 due to forecast tropical storm force winds,” school officials posted online. “District Administration will continue to monitor conditions and make decisions regarding Friday at a later time.”
All afternoon and evening activities will also be canceled Thursday.
Anson County Superintendent Michael Freeman canceled school Thursday: “due to expected weather problems with Hurricane Michael.” Anson County Schools will likely be on a 2-hour delay Friday.
Union County Schools will be closed Thursday as the county is under a Tropical Storm Warning.
Surrounding school districts are monitoring Michael and will make a decision soon regarding closures.
Parts of the WBTV viewing area are under a Tropical Storm Watch/Warning. The hurricane is expected to take longer to weaken than initially expected.
The biggest concern for the WBTV viewing area will be heavy rain, with several inches likely across the immediate Charlotte area and strong winds. Gusty winds, perhaps in the 30-40 mph range, are likely as well, though the tornado threat for the WBTV viewing area appears to be quite low.
Michael will produce life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic wind damage, and heavy rainfall, according to FEMA.
“This is a deadly situation - there’s just no other real way to put it,” National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.
Gov. Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency for NC Wednesday as he and emergency officials discussed preparations.
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Michael will be strong enough to down trees, rip up tarps and create additional damage, Cooper said.
“This storm is coming and we will be ready for it," Cooper said.