August 30, 2019, PM Update – The National Hurricane Center late this afternoon adjusted its forecast for Hurricane Dorian to the north and east, but not significantly enough so – it’s still heading to Florida and will arrive as a Category 4 hurricane. The only question, according to one NOAA forecaster, is whether Dorian will hit Florida, then head north OR linger offshore and then head north – either way, major hurricane force winds will impact Central and Northern Florida. All of Florida’s east coast, and now all of Georgia’s and part of South Carolina’s coastlines are in play, too. Forecasters still cannot predict where the storm will make landfall.
Dorian strengthened earlier today to a Category 3 storm with 115 mph winds. Additional strengthening is expected to Category 4 (winds of 131-155 mph with storm surge of 13-15 feet) in the next day or so. Its current track takes it near the NW Bahamas. The Hurricane Center still has the storm slowing down as it approaches Florida, but warns that scenario – as the newest trend more to the north and east – could change again, too. Tropical storm force winds will reach the Florida coast late Sunday night or early Monday morning, with hurricane force winds at/near landfall early Tuesday. The slower trend has bought more time for emergency preparation.
But continued uncertainty on the storm’s exact path is hindering local authorities’ ability to develop concrete evacuation plans and preparations. The same to a lesser degree for shelter plans. Hurricane Watches for Florida are likely tomorrow. Likewise, there is no storm surge forecast yet from the National Hurricane Center, but they anticipate 10’+ surge. Current forecasts call for 10”-15” of widespread rainfall, with up to 20” in some areas. This would create extremely dangerous river, stream, and flash flooding. The rain will spread to Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas. This is a large and growing storm with impacts well beyond Florida.
Some local governments are poised to issue mandatory evacuations and open special needs as well as general population shelters as soon as Sunday morning. The Governor is urging all Floridians heed any local evacuation orders and to prepare for impacts. Given the storm’s expected slower movement through Florida, he said residents need to have seven days of food, water and medicine on hand (more below in our News from the Governor’s Office). Once evacuation orders are issued, tolls will be suspended, and highway shoulders will be opened to traffic.
The Florida Petroleum Marketers Association reports 25% of gas stations in Florida are out of fuel. In Palm Beach, 70% of stations were without fuel earlier today. It’s not a supply problem, it’s getting it delivered during the run on gas stations. Trucks are backed up about 3-4 hours at the ports to load the fuel onto the trucks. There are police escorts of the tanker trucks out of Port Everglades to get the gas to the stations as quickly as possible. The industry is working with the state to help develop different scenarios to get fuel delivered in expected flooding conditions after the storm passes.
The President issued a disaster declaration Friday for all of Florida at the request of the Governor. The pre-landfall disaster declaration allows the state to draw down more federal resources ahead of Dorian’s arrival.
Florida’s electric utilities are warning the storm as forecast will create “significant outages” that could take several days or longer to restore. With the western Florida Panhandle out of the five-day hurricane cone at present, state officials are looking at that area to set up staging areas for fuel tankers, out-of-state electric crews, ambulances, and other emergency teams and supplies.
Insurance companies are busy executing their own plans, too. State-run Citizens Property Insurance has been in full pre-storm mode, executing many proactive measures. Citizens has updated its website and sent out notices to policyholders ahead of the storm, containing tips on how to file a claim, reminders about interim repairs, and warnings about signing Assignment of Benefits (AOB) contracts. Forewarned is forearmed!
Click here for a full briefing with maps. Please prepare and be aware!
Lisa & the LMA team
Here’s the latest News from the Governor’s Office, with recent updates in orange:
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
- Florida is not under any watches or warnings.
- No evacuations have been ordered at this time.
- Once a local evacuation is ordered, Governor DeSantis will direct the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to lift tolls in the affected areas.
- To help residents and emergency personnel stay connected in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, Comcast has announced it is opening its network of almost 200,000 Xfinity WiFi hotspots throughout Florida to anyone who needs them, including non-Xfinity customers, free of charge.
- Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) will escort fuel trucks to ensure fuel reaches critical areas more quickly. The State is working closely with the fuel industry to ensure there is an adequate fuel supply statewide.
- Through Executive Order 19-189, Governor DeSantis waived hours of service and truck weights for fuel trucks. Neighboring states, specifically Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia have waived requirements as well so that fuel can be moved more quickly and efficiently.
- The State of Florida is working with industry partners to identify additional resources, including trucks, staff, etc. to distribute more fuel throughout the state.
- In the chance of flooding, DEM has partnered with contractors to supply high-water vehicles to deliver fuel to areas in need.
- Fuel contractors will be delivering trucks of fuel to various Florida counties to be readily available for nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
- Florida officials are working with ports along the East Coast of Florida to monitor resources and assist with closures and re-openings.
FOOD AND WATER
- The State has 819,000 gallons of water and 1.8 million meals ready for distribution.
- The State has ordered an additional 250,000 gallons of water to bring the total to more than 1 million gallons.
- The State has pre-deployed 860,000 bottles of water to preparing counties.
- Governor DeSantis has authorized the activation of 2,500 Florida National Guard troops, with an additional 1,500 awaiting orders.
- The Florida National Guard Joint Operations Center is fully operational.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
- 15 Urban Search and Rescue Teams are on standby for deployment.
- HazMat Teams have been identified across 12 departments that will be utilized for response.
- 3 FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Teams are on standby.
- Tennessee is sending six swift water rescue teams in preparation of the storm.
- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is leading and coordinating Florida’s law enforcement response and is in contact with state and local law enforcement partners.
- FDLE has deployment teams on standby ready to respond before and after the storm.
- FDLE established a mobile communications team to ensure emergency communications continue following the storm.
- The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) has prepared its emergency response equipment and resources for staging as the storm approaches the state.
- FHP is conducting a mission to provide various fuel escorts to communities in need at this time.
- FHP is also in contact with its local law enforcement and transportation partners to identify and assist with any local needs before, during and after the storm.
- Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobiles have been prepared and are ready to deploy and serve impacted customers immediately following the storm.
TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC WORKS
- FDOT is working with state and local officials to assess the current situation and needs.
- FDOT is monitoring the storm and holding teleconferences with the FDOT district offices.
- FDOT urges all motorists to use caution when driving during storm conditions.
- Florida’s 511 Traveler Information System is one of the most effective ways drivers can keep informed about the state’s roadways during severe weather.
- Contractors on all construction projects are securing work sites, clearing traffic control devices that are not actively being used to direct traffic, and checking drainage systems.
- All available lanes will remain open on the interstate system in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties.
- As Hurricane Dorian moves towards potential landfall near Central Florida, the I-4 Ultimate team has begun emergency preparation plans to ensure safety and mobility prior to, and after, this anticipated event.
- This includes following approved procedures to secure or remove traffic barrels, barricades, temporary signage, and any other items that might be affected by strong winds.
- Areas vulnerable to flooding and/or erosion are being checked, evaluated, and monitored.
- Equipment such as trucks, excavators, bulldozers, and portable pumps and generators are being checked and fueled.
- FDOT has announced that the I-595 Express lanes will operate in the westbound direction beginning at 3 p.m. today until Hurricane Dorian has passed. Eastbound traffic will continue to use the general-purpose eastbound lanes throughout this period.
- The Florida Department of Management Services (DMS) is preparing all state-owned buildings along the east coast for possible severe weather. Updates of state office closures will be updated DMS’ website as soon as more information is available. https://www.dms.myflorida.com/business_operations/real_estate_development_and_management/bureau_of_operations_and_maintenance/building_closure_information.
PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICAL
- The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has activated the Emergency Status System (ESS) for health care facilities statewide to enter their storm preparedness status including generators and utility company information, emergency contacts, and bed availability.
- Information about nursing homes and assisted living facilities generator status can be found here: http://fl-generator.com/.
- 95.6 percent of Assisted Living Facilities have an onsite generator. AHCA is working closely with the rest to get a generator or make sure they have a plan.
- 99.6 percent of Nursing Homes have a generator or have arrangements in place. AHCA is working closely with the rest to make sure they have a plan.
- The Department of Health (DOH) currently has no active boil water notices. However, it has two webpages that will be updated in real time as notices are issued.
- DOH is actively communicating with County Health Departments (CHDs) to pre-identify and pre-stage resources.
- DOH has conducted outreach to all 280 EMS providers in Florida to determine availability of ambulance strike teams.
- DOH has requested 390 EMS resources through the National EMS Contract for ambulances and para-transit vehicles.
- 150 personnel, including nursing staff, has been mobilized to assist Special Needs Shelters.
- DOH has requested 10 Nursing Strike Teams through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).
- The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) continues to reach out to group homes in the counties potentially impacted by the storm to ensure all the necessary steps have been taken to ensure the health and safety of APD customers.
- APD Waiver Support Coordinators have reached out to individuals in independent living to ensure proper safety measures are being taken.
- APD’s Recovery Toolkit at www.apdcares.org provides the last information about the hurricane, disaster preparations and resources after the storm.
- The Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA) operates six skilled nursing facilities and one assisted living facility. All state veterans’ homes are currently operational.
- The Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) is working through its Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and providers across the state to ensure implementation of emergency relief measures, including pre- and post-emergency calls with at-risk elderly or disabled clients to determine what preparations they have made and identify needs in advance of the storm.
- DOEA is also working to evaluate the ability of each AAA and local service providers to continue service delivery, including the provision of shelf-stable meals for clients receiving home-delivered meals.
- Using mapping software that links client addresses with FEMA evacuation zones, DOEA has provided data to the AAAs for elderly and disabled clients who reside in coastal and the flood-prone areas.
- DOAE has provided DOH counts of clients who are oxygen dependent.
- The Department of Children and Families (DCF) has activated the departments’ disaster related information website: www.myflfamilies.com/disaster.
- DCF is communicating with community-based-care lead agencies to ensure there are plans in place to begin making pre-landfall status checks on children in the department’s care.
- Information regarding SNAP benefits can be found on the DCF MYACCESS Florida website: www.myflorida.com/accessflorida/.
- DCF is holding daily calls with regional directors, program leads, and facility directors to ensure programs and facilities are prepared.
- DCF offices in Okeechobee, St. Lucie, and Martin counties are closed.
- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has completed pre-storm beach surveys, and pre-storm prep guidance has been distributed to all hazardous waste, drinking water and wastewater facilities.
- Florida state park closures can be found at www.floridastateparks.org/StormUpdates.
- 559 Disaster Debris Management Sites have been pre-authorized for the 26 counties addressed by the Governor’s Executive Order.
- An online tool for the public to report the location of storm debris has been deployed.
- Pre-storm prep guidance has been distributed to local governments and all hazardous waste, drinking water and wastewater facilities.
- DEP has issued an Emergency Final Order which authorizes repairs, replacement, restoration, and certain other measures due to impacts from Hurricane Dorian.
- State Parks statewide are prepping for potential impacts.
- Districts have formulated park strike teams, prepared equipment and are ready to mobilize post-landfall.
- DEP has coordinated with EPA regarding water facilities response coordination and staffing support of ESF-3.
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
- The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) continues to encourage businesses to visit www.FloridaDisaster.biz for disaster preparedness tips and register to receive updates as the storm progresses.
- The private sector hotline (850) 815-4925 has been activated to support disaster preparedness and response activities.
- DEO is extending the deadline for local governments to submit applications for the $85 million Rebuild Florida Infrastructure Repair Program.
- Through VISIT FLORIDA’s partnership with Expedia, the Emergency Accommodations Module has also been activated at www.expedia.com/florida. This tool provides travelers with real-time information on accommodations availability throughout Florida and neighboring states.
- VISIT FLORIDA’s three Official Florida Welcome Centers, located at major access points along the state’s border, transitioned into emergency information centers offering the latest details on evacuation notices, accommodations, gas availability, and road closures.
- The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) offers a Hurricane Guide with information about hurricane preparedness, what to do as a storm approaches, disaster recovery, and helpful hurricane-related resources. DBPR has shared the Guide on social media and it is available at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/documents/HurricaneGuide_web.pdf.
- FDOE will be posting up-to-date information regarding school closures at www.fldoe.org/hurricaneinfo.
- The following school districts have announced closures:
- Gulf County will be closed on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.
- Lake County will be closed on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 and Wednesday, September 4, 2019.
- Brevard County will be closed on Tuesday, September 3.
- Martin County will dismiss students early on Friday, August 30 and be closed on Tuesday, September 3.
- Miami-Dade adult education classes will be cancelled starting at 6:00 p.m. on August 30 until further notice.
- Orange County will be closed on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.
- Osceola County will be closed on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.
- Seminole County will be closed on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.
- St. Lucie will have early dismissal on Friday, August 30, 2019.
- Volusia County will be closed on Tuesday, September 3.
- The following state colleges and universities have announced closures:
- Broward College will close all campuses and partnership centers at 12 p.m. on Saturday, August 31 until further notice.
- Daytona State College will close at 12 p.m. Friday and remain closed through Tuesday, September 3, 2019.
- Eastern Florida State College will close at 12 p.m. on Thursday, August 29, and remain closed through Tuesday, September 3.
- Florida State College at Jacksonville all campuses and centers will be closed Saturday, August 31 through Tuesday, September 3.
- Indian River State College will close at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 30 until further notice.
- Palm Beach State College will close at 12 p.m. on Friday, August 30 through Tuesday, September 3.
- Seminole State College of Florida will close on Saturday, August 31 at noon until further notice.
- Valencia College will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 31 and remain closed through Tuesday, September 3.
- Florida Atlantic University will close at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, August 30, 2019.
- Florida International University will cancel classes on Friday, August 30 and Saturday August 31 at all FIU locations and online.
- Florida Polytechnic University will be closed on Tuesday, September 3.
- University of Central Florida will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 30 and remain closed through Tuesday, September 3, 2019.
- Yesterday, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran hosted a hurricane preparedness conference call today with superintendents, and college presidents to receive an update on their hurricane preparedness plans.
- Many school boards are adjusting their meetings due to Hurricane Dorian. The Department of Education will work with each district on a case by case basis to meet statutory deadlines.
- DMS’ Division of State Group Insurance, has arranged for early prescription renewals starting today for members of the state group insurance program.
- The Office of Insurance Regulation’s Incident Management Team is fully activated and has representatives at the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.
- OIR team members will be actively working throughout the storm and beyond with consumer advocates, industry stakeholders and entities licensed under OIR’s regulatory authority.
- In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order, OIR has notified all health insurers, managed care organizations and other health entities of their statutory obligation to allow for early prescription refills during a state of emergency here.
- At Governor DeSantis’ direction, Volunteer Florida has launched the Florida Disaster Fund, the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster.
- To donate, please visit volunteerflorida.org or text DISASTER to 20222 to make a $10 contribution.
- Volunteer Florida is coordinating with 60 voluntary organizations active in disaster (VOAD) and FEMA counterparts who are standing up and ready to deploy.
- Individuals who are interested in volunteering after the storm are encouraged to visit volunteerflorida.org where they may register to become a volunteer and search for volunteer opportunities. Volunteers should affiliate with an organization before deploying. Volunteers should not self-deploy.
- Crisis Cleanup will open their Home Cleanup Hotline (844-965-1386) on Sunday, September 1 to help individuals who experienced damage to their homes and property.
- The Salvation Army has 33 canteens and two field kitchens on standby. Local corps are also stationed in emergency operation centers for anticipated landfall.
- The American Red Cross has up to 80 food distribution trucks available in Florida to start pushing out.
- Florida Baptist Disaster Relief has two kitchens that have a 32,000 meal capacity per day. They are also working with their partners to bring in more kitchens that have the capacity to prepare 180,000 meals per day.
- Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) Secretary Mark Inch, and his leadership team, are in close contact with the statewide EOC, and state and local law enforcement. Emergency planning is on track. Evacuation determinations are being evaluated and we are confident in the pre-storm planning and actions taking place.
- FDC is taking proactive steps to ensure institutions are prepared for the storm and ensure inmate safety is not compromised.
STATE EMERGENCY OPERATION CENTER / CONTACTS
- The State Emergency Operations Center has activated to a Level 1.
- The State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) contact number: 1-800-342-3557.
- The State Emergency Operations Center Media Line: 850-921-0217.
- Follow @FLSERT and @GovRonDeSantis on Twitter for live updates on Hurricane Dorian.
- Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org/info to find information on emergency preparedness, shelters, road closures and evacuation routes.