Staff Report

Hurricane Dorian’s slow track continued westward toward the Sunshine State on Sunday, as opposed to the projected northern turn — preventing local school officials from deciding whether to close schools Tuesday.

“Charlotte County Public Schools is continuing to work with the Charlotte County Emergency Operations Center and closely monitor the approach of the still extremely slow-moving Hurricane Dorian,” said the Charlotte County School District in a statement issued Sunday.

“Although all indications call for a turn to happen with this powerful storm, unfortunately, it has not happened just yet, so we are holding off on a decision about school on Tuesday until (today).”

Sarasota County Schools officials also expressed a concern about the storm’s track on in a statement on the district’s Facebook page Sunday afternoon: “It is too early to determine the impact Hurricane Dorian will have on our community on Tuesday. SCS will notify parents, students and staff around noon tomorrow (Sept. 2) via ConnectEd and social media about school operations for Tuesday.”

DeSoto County Schools officials are expected to announce today on Facebook and alert parents by phone as to their district’s plans for Tuesday.

Florida SouthWestern State College and Florida Gulf Coast University previously announced that their campuses would be closed Tuesday.

Here’s what else you need to know about Hurricane Dorian and its local impacts:

Who do I call about price gouging?

Unfortunately, some people will take advantage of others during desperate times and raise prices on gas, hotels, food, etc. WINK news reported some stores attempting to sell cases of water for $40.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody will prosecute those who commit price gouging during a state of emergency.

“I have extended Florida’s Price Gouging Hotline to all 67 counties in an effort to prevent gouging, so Floridians can afford essential items now,” Moody stated in a press release.

To report price gouging, call the hotline at 866-9NO-SCAM.

Moody’s office also now uses a free app called NO SCAM, which is available through Apple and Android stores.

“NO SCAM is an app designed to help consumers report allegations of price gouging in real-time and allow information on possible violations be sent to the Attorney General’s Office immediately,” according to the Attorney General’s Office. “The app allows consumers to attach pictures, copies of receipts and more when reporting suspected price gouging — directly from smart phones.”

For more information on price gouging, go to the Attorney General’s website: www.myfloridalegal.com.

What has been canceled or closed?

• Pioneer Days events in Englewood have been postponed.

• All Charlotte County parks, pools, recreation centers are closed until Tuesday.

• All Charlotte and Sarasota county libraries are closed until Tuesday.

• Reservations for outdoor and indoor parks facilities in Sarasota County are closed through today.

• Just a reminder that today is Labor Day, so government facilities, offices and other businesses may be closed for the holiday.

Will Allegiant flights be affected?

Yes. Anyone taking a flight in the next few days should check with your airlines. Allegiant passengers can check allegiantair.com for the most updated flight information.

Scheduled service to and from the Punta Gorda Airport may be disrupted until at least Tuesday as Allegiant flights could be affected at the following airports: Charleston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Jacksonville, Myrtle Beach, Orlando Sanford, Sarasota-Bradenton, Savannah, St. Pete-Clearwater and San Juan in Puerto Rico.

Allegiant is offering passengers two easy ways to contact customer service to change Dorian-affected flights at no charge: call 702-505-8888 or email hurricane.help@allegiantair.com. “This email is specifically for those Florida passengers who want to make a change to their existing reservation. When emailing, they should include their name, itinerary number, phone number and instructions on the change they want to make,” stated Hilarie Grey, spokesperson for Allegiant Travel Company.

Have they started evacuations locally?

No, but Florida Highway Patrol suspended tolls Sunday on Alligator Alley.

How can I stay informed?

In addition to staying informed by the National Hurricane Center, local news outlets (yoursun.com is free right now due to Dorian) and meteorologists, enroll in your local government’s emergency notification system. You will receive instant notifications as to evacuations, water boil notices and other emergency information specific to your home address.

• Charlotte County Emergency Alert program: www.alertcharlotte.com

• Punta Gorda CodeRED Notification System: bit.ly/PGCodeRED

• DeSoto County Emergency Alert Program: bit.ly/DeSotoAlerts

• Sarasota County CodeRED Notification System: bit.ly/SarasotaCodeRED

• North Port CodeRed Notification System: bit.ly/NorthPortCodeRED

Charlotte County’s Emergency Management Office will not have public briefings on the storm Sunday due to the decreased threat but will update the public through their alert system.

Any briefings from Sarasota County’s Emergency Management Office will be posted to their Facebook page.

Staff writer Daniel Sutphin contributed to this report.

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