Hurricane Dorian became a Category 4 hurricane on Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm is projected to hit the Bahamas starting this weekend.
Potential landfall on Florida’s Atlantic Coast is predicted to start on Sunday or Monday.
The National Hurricane Center added, “Life-threatening storm-surge and devastating hurricane-force winds are likely along portions of the Florida east coast by early next week.”
On Thursday afternoon, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis extended the original state of emergency from 26 counties to the entire state. Citizens are advised to execute their emergency preparations, stay informed through their local news stations and stay safe.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management operates under the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and it released a list of counties that are under voluntary/phased evacuation orders. These counties include Glades, Hendry, Martin, Osceola, Palm Beach and St. Lucie.
“Make sure to have a tank full of gas and stock your vehicle with emergency supplies in case you need to evacuate. Listen to directions from local officials and know your evacuation route ahead of time,” the Florida Division of Emergency Management said in a statement. Their site floridadisaster.org/info offers more information and links to evacuation zones, preparation and county emergency management.
While Tallahassee is not in the direct path of the projected cones, emergency preparations are still underway. On Thursday afternoon, the city of Tallahassee started preemptive hurricane measures. From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at two separate locations, the city is offering sand and bags to citizens who bring their own shovels for up to 25 bags per household.
Florida A&M University has begun preparations on campus for the Category 4 storm. On Friday evening, FAMU said that its Tampa, Orlando, Brooksville, Jacksonville and Davie locations will be closed until Wednesday. FAMU’s Police Department was unable to provide a comment but through email said, “generators, water, food and other emergency supplies have been moved into place on campus in preparation for bad weather.” Students should be advised that the Foster-Tanner band building will serve as a shelter if evacuation is necessary.
Curt Sommerhoff, the Emergency Management Director at Florida State University, works closely with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee to determine how the campus will move forward. “We’re continuing to monitor the storm and tracking its path. We see how it’s moved east-bound and we’re hoping it continues that way,” Sommerhoff said.
Despite Hurricane Dorian’s recent change, local news and the National Hurricane Center advises citizens to still be prepared for heavy rainfall and possible flooding.