Florida Braces for Hurricane Dorian: Governor Expands State of Emergency to all 67 Counties

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks about Tropical Storm Dorian outside of the the National Hurricane Center, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Florida Governor Ron De Santis has declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties as Hurricane Dorian heads for the Sunshine State and could make landfall as a Category 4 storm.

“Due to Hurricane Dorian’s uncertain projected path, I am expanding the state of emergency to include all 67 counties throughout Florida,” DeSantis said in a detailed bulletin. “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,” DeSantis said. “Do not wait until it is too late to make a plan.”

DeSantis said he is in constant communication with federal, state, and local emergency management officials and state agency leaders to ensure the state is fully prepared.

After bypassing Puerto Rico, Dorian has left the Caribbean and is now in the Atlantic Ocean with sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“There is an increasing likelihood of life-threatening storm surge along portions of the Florida east coast late this weekend or early next week, although it is too soon to determine where the highest storm surge will occur,” the center’s website said.

The storm may wreak havoc on holiday travel plans, according to a CNBC report that noted that winds reaching 130 miles per hour could hit Florida and that the air traffic control tower at Miami International Airport shuts down when sustained winds hit 55 miles per hour:

American Airlines on Thursday said travelers booked Sept. 2-3 to or from 13 Florida airports, from Key West to Gainesville and including its Miami hub, can change their tickets without paying a fee or difference in fare if they can travel as late as Sept. 10.

Spirit Airlines and JetBlue Airways issued similar waivers for several Florida airports, including Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Jacksonville.

Southwest Airlines doesn’t charge a flat fee for flight changes, but it won’t make passengers who want to change their flights pay for the fare difference if they can fly within two weeks of their original travel date. The policy applies to passengers with tickets to or from six Florida airports from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4.

Dorian is expected to reach the U.S. mainland on Labor Day, but tropical storm rains could reach Florida over the weekend.

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