University of Florida cancels classes ahead of Idalia, forecast to be major hurricane at landfall

The University of Florida is preparing its students for the incoming storm.

Of course, hurricanes and tropical storms are nothing new to Gainesville or to the University of Florida, but so far, Idalia is on course to hit the area pretty hard.

Steve Orlando, a spokesperson for the school, says the University is taking things a bit more seriously because of that.

"Protecting campus and making sure everyone stays safe, those are our top priorities," said Orlando.

Crews are putting up sandbags at more than two dozen UF buildings in low-lying areas. There are also efforts to protect construction sites on campus.

UF has canceled class beginning at noon on Tuesday, and all day Wednesday. A decision will come later on about plans for Thursday. Residence and dining halls will stay open through the storm, the school said. On campus, the majority of the day was bright and sunny. Several students told FOX 35 News they hadn’t heard of the storm until Sunday night or even Monday morning.


"It’s kind of scary because you never know how bad it’s going to hit," said UF Senior Paula Mitre. "You have to be prepared, just in case."

UF is asking kids who live on campus to stock up on any necessary items, charge up their phones, and then stay in their dorms, away from windows. 

"These are well-built buildings, so we feel the safest place for them to be is in the housing areas," said Orlando. "For students who live off of campus, of course, we encourage them to follow all the same precautions."

How nervous students felt seemed kind of dependent on where they were from. For instance, Kyile Larson, a UF Sophomore from South Florida, told FOX 35 that she’s used to hurricanes and tropical storms.

"I’m just going to get a lot of water and food that I know will last me for the week. I’m not really too nervous about it," said Larson. "Just a lot of rain, trees falling. As long as nothing breaks my window in my room, I’m fine."

Students from out of state said they’d rely on their Floridian friends to ease their nerves.

UF Sophomore Julia Kawaleski, who’s from Ohio, said she’s pretty unfamiliar with hurricanes.

"Last year, we had one, and it wasn’t super big, so I don’t know how it’s going to be this year," said Kawaleski. "I have no idea what to expect."

She and Julia Shafizadeh, a Sophomore from New York, are both planning to head to Publix with their Floridian friends to stock up on emergency items.

Shafizadeh says last year, she evacuated for Hurricane Ian.

"I think I’m going to stay [this year]," said Shafizadeh. "We’ll see about that."