By Jai-Leen James, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – On Thursday, August 29th, Governor Ron DeSantis visited the National Hurricane Center in Miami where he received a full briefing on Hurricane Dorian. The storm is expected to strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane before making landfall in Florida this weekend.
The day earlier DeSantis issued Executive Order 19-189, declaring a state of emergency for a number of counties, and later expanded the emergency declaration to Executive Order 19-190 which covers the entire state.
“Due to Hurricane Dorian’s uncertain projected path, I am expanding the state of emergency to include all 67 counties throughout Florida,” said the Governor. “All residents, especially those along the east coast, need to be prepared for possible impacts.”
“As it increases strength, this storm has the potential to severely damage homes, businesses and buildings, which is why all Floridians should remain vigilant,” he said. “Do not wait until it is too late to make a plan.”
Forecasters predict that heavy winds will pummel Florida and other parts of the southeastern United States by late this week and into next week. Computer models disagree on where Dorian might come ashore, whether it will stay south toward Miami-Dade and Broward Counties or head north towards Orlando.
“If you’re in the path of this storm anywhere on the East Coast of Florida, make your preparations,” DeSantis said Thursday afternoon. “Take action.”
“We’re doing what we can to make sure ready,” said Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales. “We want to encourage our residents the number one individual who’s responsible for your own public safety is each resident. They can do more for themselves than we can.”
To add to the threat of flooding, King tides along the east coast of Florida began Monday, August 26th, and are expected to continue through Tuesday, September 3rd. Experts say the king tide could add a couple of feet to the storm surge, causing Dorian to feel as if it is one category higher.
The National Hurricane Center predicts that coastal sections of the Southeast could be withstand 5 to 10 inches of rain. Some isolated areas could see 15-inch totals thus cause life-threatening flash floods.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that tides will be at their highest point on Thursday and Friday evening in Miami Beach. As a precaution, both Miami and Miami Beach are adding backup generators and temporary pumping stations for possible floods.
“Because of the uncertainty in the track of this storm, every resident along the East Coast needs to be ready,” said Jared Moskowitz, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director.
“As updates come out, it’s important that Floridians continue to pay attention to media and local officials as the track of this storm has been changing and can continue to change rapidly.”
“By having an Executive Order in place and by activating the State Emergency Operations Center to a Level 2, we are fully prepared to support any community that might be impacted.”