UPDATED @ 7:30 p.m, Wednesday, Aug 26: Hurricane causes local entities to shut down Thursday

by Cristin Parker cristin@thecherokeean.com

(Aug. 26, 2020) Cities, schools and other officials across Cherokee County made the decision at various times through Wednesday, Aug. 26, to cancel classes, close doors and otherwise batten down the hatches on Thursday in anticipation of Hurricane Laura.

A TORNADO WATCH in effect for Cherokee and other southern counties until 9 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, Aug. 26. Conditions are favorable for a tornado to occur through the evening hours.

According to the National Weather Service on Hurricane Laura is predicted to make landfall over southeast Texas and southwest Texas just after midnight tonight. Laura has been rapidly intensifying and increased to a Category 4 hurricane about midday on Wednesday and is expected to remain a major hurricane at landfall.

NWS officials are calling for ‘unsurvivable storm surges’ that will cause catastrophic damage and could penetrate an estimated 30 miles inland.

Jacksonville city officials reported the impact on Jacksonville and surrounding areas could be high winds of up to 50 miles an hour; possible heavy rainfall resulting in power loss; trees and other debris in roadways; and possible roadway flooding.

Republic Services trash collection has indicated they will operate normally for all trash collections.

“This could change based on the impact of the storm,” Republic officials reported. “We will provide updates as needed.”

In Cherokee County, numerous entities will be closed Thursday, including:


• The offices of Alto City Hall and the Economic Development Corporation as well as Alto’s Stella Hill Memorial Library will be closed Thursday, Aug. 27. Call 9-1-1 for emergency services.

• AISD canceled school for Thursday, Aug. 27.

“We do not want to jeopardize buses being on the roads, kids in portable buildings, or staff members traveling to and from work,” district officials posted on the school’s Facebook page. “This will include canceling the JV football game in Troup, as well as any after school practices or activities.

“Friday will be a wait-and-see based on conditions and power.”


• With the weather conditions related to Hurricane Laura and as a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of employees and residents the city of Jacksonville will close all public buildings and offices on Thursday, Aug. 27. All essential services will be operational during this closure. Call 9-1-1- for emergency services.

"We will carefully monitor the conditions during the day and make an announcement by 4 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, Aug. 27, concerning city offices for Friday," city officials stated. "Please continue to monitor weather conditions and take precautions as necessary to stay safe."

• As a precautionary measure to ensure student and staff safety, in particular transportation safety, Jacksonville ISD will close Thursday, Aug. 27 due to projected weather conditions related to Hurricane Laura.

“We will carefully monitor the conditions during the day and make an announcement by 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27, concerning the Friday schedule. Please continue to monitor weather conditions and take precautions as necessary to stay safe,” district officials posted on the school’s Facebook page.

• Due to Hurricane Laura, The Clothes Closet & More will be closed Thursday, Aug. 27. and will reopen 9 a.m., Friday, Aug. 28.

• As a precautionary measure, the Jacksonville College campus will be closed and all classes cancelled on Thursday, Aug. 27.

• The Crisis Center of Anderson and Cherokee Counties’ Jacksonville offices and resale store will be closed Thursday, August 27th, in anticipation of severe weather from Hurricane Laura.

“We will be back in the offices and ready to serve you on Friday,” organization officials posted on the Center’s Facebook page. “Stay safe everyone!”

• Harry’s Building Material President Robby Tosh reported Wednesday, he and his staff will make a decision early Thursday, Aug. 27, for the Jacksonville and Troup locations to open “as long as the weather permits and we have power,” Tosh stated on the business’s Facebook page. “Our team is too valuable to be in harm’s way!”

• Want to help coordinate volunteers in the case of a local disaster? Consider joining the Jacksonville Serves-Volunteer Coordination Council. We are ready to deploy Thursday/Friday if needed in the old Joe Wright (now Jacksonville College Theater) parking lot. Text (903) 721-2467 for details.


• As of 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 26, New Summerfield ISD continued to monitor the weather and reported officials at the district would not make a decision on Thursday's school schedule until 5:30 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 27.

• The New Summerfield Junior High basketball game for Thursday, Aug. 27, has been canceled due to concerns about the weather.

• There was no information on New Summerfield City Hall's schedule for Thursday, Aug. 27, as of 5 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 26.


• As of 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 26, Rusk ISD Superintendent Grey Burton made the decision to cancel his district's classes for Thursday, Aug. 27.

• Rusk Jr. High volleyball for Thursday, Aug. 27, against Carthage has been canceled.

• Rusk City Hall and will remain open Thursday, Aug. 27.

• United Country Real Estate will be closed Thursday, Aug. 27.

• The Cherokeean Herald office will be closed Thursday, Aug. 27.


• Lake Striker’s office will be closed Thursday, Aug. 27, to allow employees to stay home to take care of any damage or problems that may occur.


• Wells City Hall will delay opening Thursday, Aug. 27, until 11 a.m. City staff have compiled several Hurricane related links on the city’s website.

“We will keep posting updates as we receive them,” city officials posted on the city’s website. “We will keep your water on and our sewer plant running during the storm.”

• Out of an abundance of caution with Hurricane Laura and Wells ISD being on a major evacuation route, Thursday, Aug. 27 and Friday, Aug. 28 will be remote learning days for all students, pre-K through grade 12.

“Attendance will be taken asynchronously (remotely) just like the first week of school for students,” stated WISD Superintendent Jill Gaston on the ISD’s website. “We will resume our regular schedule on Monday, Aug. 31, with all students returning to campus. Please stay safe at this time!”