Columbia County schools close in preparation for Eta

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. – The school district in Columbia County decided to close schools on Thursday as Eta approached Florida’s west coast.

As of Wednesday evening, the county’s emergency operation center said it was unlikely Columbia County would be put under a tropical storm watch or warning. Some strong wind gusts were expected on Thursday.

Shannon Miller made a trip to Publix on Wednesday night to get some last minute supplies before the storm.

“I got a generator in my car and I just grabbed some food for my family so we’re going to hunker down I guess," Miller said.

Other residents said they’re not worried.

“I think it’s just going to be another storm. Nothing to worry about," said Patrick Bozeman.

“Unless I go home and see tonight on the news it’s different from what I’ve been watching over the past couple of days, I’m not going to worry about it at all," said Todd Wagoner.

The EOC said wind speeds in the area could reach 30 to 35 mph early Thursday morning.

Residents were encouraged to move their outdoor furniture and loose objects in the yard inside. Rainfall could reach one to two inches with some areas potentially seeing heavier amounts of rain.

“We want to be as safe as we can and hope that this thing blows right through and we’re all okay," Miller said.

Miller said he’s glad he’s prepared, but he’s hoping he won’t have to put his new generator to use.

The EOC said in a worst-case scenario that there could be some downed trees or powerlines. County officials planned to monitor Eta throughout the night.