Hurricane Dorian: Dorian Beginning To Scrape Florida's East Coast
Here are the latest developments on Hurricane Dorian:
Dorian Beginning To Scrape Florida's East Coast
Hurricane Dorian is now pulling away from the northwestern Bahamas and beginning to scrape Florida's east coast with its winds and rain.
Forecasters say Dorian was centered at 6 p.m. EDT Tuesday about 125 miles (200 kilometers) east of Melbourne, Florida. It has top sustained winds of 110 mph (175 kph) as a Category 2 hurricane. The storm is moving to the northwest at 6 mph (9 kph), tracking offshore and nearly parallel to Florida's Atlantic shoreline.
Dorian virtually stalled over the northwestern Bahamas in recent days as a Category 5 storm that caused widespread devastation in parts of the island archipelago. It was the most powerful hurricane on record ever to hit the islands. At least five deaths were reported though the full scope of the disaster still remains uncertain.
Universal Orlando Closes Early
Universal Orlando Resort is closing its theme parks in Florida early for the day because of Hurricane Dorian.
The theme park resort says its two parks, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, were shutting as of 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Other theme parks in Orlando had already made plans to close early or not open at all.
SeaWorld was closed Tuesday because of Dorian. And Walt Disney World closed its four theme parks by mid-afternoon Tuesday.
Forecasters say Dorian was centered Tuesday afternoon about 125 miles (200 kilometers) east of Melbourne, Florida with top sustained winds of 110 mph (175 kph) as a Category 2 hurricane. It's moving to the northwest offshore from Florida's east coast.
More Than 60,000 Lose Power In South Florida
Florida Power and Light says it’s had to restore power to about 60,000 customers after storm-related outages.
FPL spokesman Dave Reuter said trees and debris downed a number of power lines – and could hit even more.
"We are still not in the clear," he said. "We remind customers to be ready for the possibility of more outages, and possibly extended outages or even more than one outage."
More than 1,000 customers in Palm Beach County had outages as of 2 p.m. Tuesday. About 1,200 lacked power in Broward, and 780 were without it in Miami-Dade. FPL is regularly updating its outage numbers at fpl.com/powertracker.
The coastal areas have seen the most storm impact. High tides and more winds Tuesday afternoon could take out power for more FPL customers.
Gas Supplies Are In Good Shape
State officials say most - if not all - Florida gas stations have gasoline again.
Surge in demand for gas late last week due to Hurricane Dorian left many gas stations empty, but AAA says it appears things have stabilized.
"Fortunately, Dorian has moved so slowly that it allowed plenty of time for Floridians to get gasoline, and gas stations to be resupplied," AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said. "Now comes more of the waiting game.
“Most of Florida’s ports on the east coast are or will be closed soon, which means no trucks to make gasoline deliveries from terminals like Orlando and Tampa, until the storm passes. Statewide, gasoline supplies are still good. Gasoline deliveries will continue to be made as along as conditions are safe. The governor has approved law enforcement escorts for tanker trucks when necessary."
Orlando Airport Closed; Tampa Airport Cancelations
Florida's busiest airport is going to close for Hurricane Dorian.
Officials at Orlando International Airport said Monday that commercial operations at the airport would cease at 2 a.m. Tuesday.
Airport officials say wind speeds at the airport could reach up to 45 mph (72.4 kph), preventing the safe operation of the airport's people mover system.
Uncertainty about the hurricane's path and the need to make storm preparations also contributed to the decision.
The airport had originally been set to close at 2 a.m. Monday, but airport officials rescinded that plan as the hurricane slowed down and its projected path shifted more north.
Some 47.7 million passengers traveled through the airport last year.
As of Tuesday morning, Tampa International Airport tweeted that there were 28 cancelations, mainly involving Silver Airways, which services the Bahamas. The tweet also said they "don not expect to close, and our operations are normal."
Stay Away From The Beach, Residents Warned
Officials in northeastern Florida are urging people to stay away from the beaches due to possible storm surge from Hurricane Dorian.
Flagler County Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord said Tuesday that waves of up to 20 feet (6 meters) are expected along the area's Atlantic beaches as the storm moves toward the north.
He says there can still be "life-threatening if not deadly conditions at the beach."
Lord said storm surge is expected along the ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway.
Disney Closing Early
Walt Disney World will close early because of Hurricane Dorian.
Disney World officials said Monday that its four theme parks will close by 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
The theme park resort also plans to close its water park, miniature golf courses and its restaurants and shops at Disney Springs by 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
Disney World officials say its resorts will remain open.
Its campground will close at 3 p.m. Tuesday and stay closed until the hurricane passes near the Florida coast. Guests at the campground will be relocated to other resorts at Disney World.
Clearwater Coast Guard Crews Evacuate 19 From Bahamas
Members of the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in Clearwater helped evacuate 19 people from a medical clinic in the Bahamas on Monday.
The Jayhawk aircrews made five trips to get patients including children and elderly adults from the Marsh Harbour clinic on Andros Island.
The Coast Guard pre-positioned several aircraft in Key West and placed the Jayhawk helicopter crews on Andros Island before Hurricane Dorian arrived.
Coast Guard crews are expected to continue searches and evacuations in the Bahamas once the sun rises this morning.
Hurricane Dorian has caused more than 1,300 flights to be canceled within, as well as into and out of, the U.S.
The flight tracking site FlightAware says the unusually high amount of cancellations on Monday were due mostly to the ferocious storm. At least another 1,000 cancellations are expected Tuesday, with at least half due to the closure of the Orlando International Airport, scheduled for 2 a.m. The site says a total of 50 to 100 flights canceled a day would be typical.
Hurricane Dorian remains stationary as it continues to pummel Grand Bahama Island.
The National Hurricane center said Dorian is expected to move "dangerously close" to the Florida east coast late Monday through Wednesday evening and then move north to coastal Georgia and South Carolina on Wednesday night and Thursday.
Health Facilities Evacuated As Dorian Looms
Florida officials said Monday that 72 nursing homes and assisted living facilities and seven hospitals on the state’s East Coast had been evacuated in preparation for Hurricane Dorian.
Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew told reporters that only four of the long-term care facilities were evacuated because they didn’t have emergency generators and access to backup power as required by law.
“They are making a determination based upon their buildings’ ability to withstand a Category 5 (hurricane), whether they are in the surge zone. So that is separate and apart from the generator,” Mayhew said.
Atlanta Opening Facilities For Dorian Evacuees
Atlanta is welcoming Hurricane Dorian evacuees with open arms, camping spaces and America's favorite pastime.
News outlets say Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Atlanta Braves are offering free services to residents from mandatory evacuation areas throughout Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
The Speedway can handle thousands of campers and is offering free spaces to dry RVs and tent campers. They're also offering limited spaces with water, power and sewer for $20 per night.
The Major League Baseball team is giving out complimentary tickets to games Tuesday and Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays and the Washington Nationals. Evacuees must show valid I.D. at ticket counters while supplies last.
Airbnbs in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas are also extending a helping hand by offering free housing to evacuees.