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Schools out early due to bad weather

City and county officials are bracing for what is expected to bea severe storm today.

“It is anticipated that we will have an outbreak of severeweather in the Lincoln County area,” said Civil Defense DirectorClifford Galey. “This could include high winds, heavy rain, largehail and the possibility of tornadoes. This is setting up to bemajor severe weather event.”

City and county school officials decided Wednesday to closeearly today after consulting with Galey about the storm.

Lincoln County Superintendent Terry Brister said his schoolswill close at 1 p.m.

“For the safe transportation of our students, our administratorsfeel this is the appropriate action to be taken,” he said.

Brookhaven School District Assistant Superintendent JamesTillman said city “buses will begin rolling around 12:30 p.m.”

Both districts have canceled all after-school activities for theday.

A cold front is moving in from the west with sustained winds of25-30 miles per hour and gusts of up to 50 mph, Galey said.

However, when the squall line arrives later this afternoon,gusts could escalate to 80 mph. The squall line, he said, shouldarrive about mid-afternoon.

Brister said officials were told the storm’s arrival would bearound 2 to 3 p.m. and students “should be home by that time.” Ahigh wind advisory has been issued until 8 p.m.

“It’s likely there will be some super-cells popping up in frontof it,” he said.

Volunteers with the civil defense and county fire departmentswere notified Wednesday of the storm, Galey said, and “were askedto have all their equipment in a ready position for today.”

The school district intends to return to a regular scheduleFriday, but officials advised parents to watch the media forupdates following today’s storm.