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County schools closed Tuesday as Ida approaches

By By Adam Prestridge
The prediction of high winds and heavy rains associated with Tropical Storm Ida have forced school administrators in Escambia County and Atmore to take the "better safe than sorry" approach to the Tuesday school day.
Escambia County Schools Superintendent Billy Hines made the decision to cancel school tomorrow fearing for the safety of the students as the storm approaches.
"Our main concern is the safety of our children," Hines said Monday afternoon. "What we are hearing is that the storm is going to be a big rain maker with wind speeds from 35 to 50 miles an hour. With us having 78 school buses on the road, we do not want to risk it. It's just in the best interest that we cancel school."
Ida was downgraded from Hurricane status mid-morning Monday, but winds are still expected to range between 50 and 60 miles per hour once the storm makes landfall somewhere near Mobile. Winds will remain between 35 and 50 miles per hour for the first four hours Ida is on land as it makes its way into Escambia County, EMA Director David Adams said.
"This may cause localized street flooding and possibly some stream flooding over the next few days," he said in an e-mail. "Isolated tornadoes are possible."
Escambia Academy headmaster Betty Warren also confirmed Tuesday afternoon that classes at the private school are cancelled as well.
As of 2 p.m., officials with Jefferson-Davis Community College had not reached a decision whether or not classes would be cancelled. Administration did, however, say that students would receive emails if classes are cancelled or students can call the school disaster recovery communications line at 368-9371.
Escambia County Florida schools reached a decision late last night to cancel schools Monday and Tuesday, including Northview High School, Ernest Ward Middle School and Bratt Elementary School.
Other closings in the Atmore area include:
Schools in both Escambia County Alabama and Florida will also be closed Wednesday in observance of Veterans Day.