Palm Beach County schools to close three hours earlier on Thursday and all day Friday

Students attending Palm Beach County public schools will be let out of school three hours earlier on Thursday because of Hurricane Sandy. Schools will be closed all day on Friday, said Nat Harrington, spokesman for the school district, in a statement released Wednesday evening.

There will be no after school or evening activities on Thursday, Harrington said.

Parents should note that students will be dropped off at their bus stops three hours earlier than normal on Thursday, he said.

School officials based their decision on National Weather Service forecasts, indicating that on Thursday afternoon sustained winds are expected to reach 25 to 35 miles per hour with gusts up to 50 miles per hour late in the day.

The National Weather Service forecasts indicate that on Friday sustained winds are expected to reach 35 to 45 miles per hour along the coast with gusts to up 60 miles per hour.

School officials say, as a safety precaution, they plan to avoid operating school buses if sustained winds are forecast to exceed 35 miles per hour, as student and staff safety is their highest priority.

While the National Weather Service says the storm will remain well offshore as it passes Palm Beach County, it is forecasting one to three inches of rain Thursday and Friday.

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