Hurricane Dorian live updates: Direct landfall ‘not completely ruled out’ by state officials

Keep up with news and live reports from the Florida coast as Hurricane Dorian continues its slow crawl to the state. This post will be continually updated throughout the day.


Broward County announced via Twitter that FLL may reopen at noon Tuesday. A decision will be made by 10 a.m.

Airport officials have asked travelers to not come to the airport before 10 a.m. Access to parking garages to retrieve vehicles will not be allowed before that time. Travelers are encouraged to confirm with their airline that their flight has been scheduled before coming to the airport.

— Colleen Wright


The Florida Department of Transportation announced via Twitter that three service plazas will close due to impending tropical storm-force winds.

The West Palm Beach service plaza is completely closed, including the fuel pumps, convenience store and food plaza. The Fort Pierce plaza closed at 8 p.m. and the Fort Drum plaza will close at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

— Colleen Wright


Forecasters have all but ruled out a direct landfall in Florida for Hurricane Dorian after its devastating stall over the Bahamas, state officials said late Monday, but as the storm starts to move, they are now bracing for a dangerous storm surge and flooding in Northeast Florida.

“A direct landfall is not completely ruled out,” but the probabilities have diminished, said Derek Giardino of the National Weather Service at the last briefing of the night at the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.

“We’re concerned about the St. Johns River,’‘ he added, estimating it will rise about 3.5 feet and lead to flooding beginning Wednesday. He predicted severe beach erosion and flooding in the City of St. Augustine, similar to damaging floods that swamped the city after Hurricane Matthew.

Kevin Guthrie, deputy director of the Division of Emergency Management, explained Dorian’s rain bands and wind circulation will cause the north-flowing river to rise “for the foreseeable future” into next week. He reminded the state’s emergency responders to be prepared and positioned for rescues in the event of fast-rising water.

Late Monday, Dorian had winds of 145 mph and was expected to sustain that strength into Tuesday, Giardini said. But they are still waiting for the second half of the two-part scenario forecasters expected when they predicted the monster storm would stay off Florida’s coast.

“The next part to see is it shift to the north,’‘ he said. “This should occur tomorrow morning.”

Hurricane force winds will arrive in Martin and Brevard counties Tuesday morning and tropical storm force gusts will exit out of Florida Wednesday night and Thursday morning, he said.

Mandatory evacuation orders continued for coastal areas of 13 eastern counties which have opened 85 shelters, including 22 special needs shelters with 673 special needs clients.

The evacuation zone also included several hospitals that had full or partial evacations. They include: Advent Health New Smyrna (Volusia County), Baptist Medical Center Nassau (Nassau County), Baptist Medical Center – Beaches (Duval County), Cape Canaveral (Brevard County), Cleveland Clinic South (Martin County), Port St. Lucie Hospital (St. Lucie County), Good Samaritan Medical Center (Palm Beach County), Steward Sebastian River Medical Center (Indian River County), Halifax Psychiatric Center North (Volusia County) and the partial evacuation at Port St. Lucie Hospital (St. Lucie County).

In addition, residents at 93 nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been evacuated, state officials said, with the state assisting with transportation for 119 patients from five healthcare facilities along the evacuation zones.

— Mary Ellen Klas

Three generations of self-described “storm chasers,” Margie Mannion, left, and granddaughter, Claire Luce, 12, and daughter, Margaret Luce, right, and a friend, Marcia Wolf, pass time inside Paris in Town French Café in North Palm Beach on Monday, September 2, 2019 as Hurricane Dorian crawls toward Florida while the Category 4 storm continues to ravage the Bahamas. Carl Juste


Hurricane Dorian, the most powerful storm to hit the Bahamas, has left at least five people dead, Bahamian Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said Monday as the storm continued to wreck havoc in the usually sun-splashed archipelago near Florida.

Minnis said the deaths were recorded by the Royal Bahamas Police Force in the Abacos, where Dorian left a trail of devastation Sunday as it pounded the island as a Category 5 storm, packing 165 mph winds and storm surges as high as 23 feet.

“We are in the midst of a historic tragedy in parts of our northern Bahamas. Our mission is focused on search, rescue and recovery,” Minnis said. “The damages and videos we are seeing are heartbreaking. Businesses and other buildings have been completely destroyed.”

Read more here. — Jacqueline Charles


The U.S. Postal Service has announced the temporary suspension of delivery and retail operations in South Florida ZIP codes beginning with 224 and 349 on Tuesday.

Customers from Pompano Beach south through Key West with ZIP codes 330, 331, 332 and 333 will receive regular mail delivery. Post Office locations in that area will also be open. — Colleen Wright


With Dorian still battering the Bahamas, a group of Broward business owners mobilized Monday to start collecting medical supplies, tarps, diapers and money to help those impacted by the storm.

At Riverside Market’s Plantation location boxes of diapers, bags of soap and other necessities started to pile up near the wooden tables where customers ate dinner and drank beer.

“So many people started asking what could we do,” said Lisa Siegel, cofounder of Riverside Market. “We knew there would be a need right away.”

Read more about how you can donate here. — Carli Teproff


Uber has announced that service will be suspended at midnight Monday in the following counties: Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River and Brevard. Uber Eats will also suspend its service in those counties at 10 p.m. — Colleen Wright


Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has tweeted that schools are expected to reopen on Wednesday.

“Unless there is a shift in Dorian’s forecasted track, Miami-Dade County Public Schools plans to open schools and resume operations on Wednesday, September 4th,” he wrote on Twitter. “We will, of course, continue analyzing storm’s movement, albeit slow, to ensure there is nothing that prevents us from reopening.”

An announcement about whether Broward County Public Schools will reopen Wednesday is expected to be made Tuesday. — Colleen Wright


Broward Mayor Mark Bogen said Monday evening that city leaders were not “letting down their guard” until the county is out of the tropical storm watch, but are “optimistic that conditions are beginning to improve.”

A decision on whether normal operations — including schools, parks and courthouses — will resume Wednesday will not be made until Tuesday. A press conference is scheduled for 10 a.m.

Meanwhile, the Broward Emergency Operations Center will continue running as it has, Bogen said.

“Assuming conditions continue to improve, you can expect positive results as far as things being open Wednesday,” Bogen said.

Bus service will resume at noon Tuesday.

Bogen said the Category 4 storm, which as of 5 p.m. was stationary about 105 miles off the coast of West Palm Beach, appeared to be taking the projected turn to the north.

“We are recommending normal business operations begin tomorrow so long as the weather conditions improve,” Bogen said. “And right now the hurricane has gone from due west to west northwest, so it’s starting to slowly make that turn.”

On Monday, the county opened three voluntary shelters, including one that was pet-friendly, for those wishing to leave their homes. By 5 p.m., Bogen said not many people had taken advantage. On Sunday, the county opened four special needs shelters, and as of 5 p.m. 106 people had checked in.

Even though Broward had seen some heavy squalls throughout the day, no real damage had been reported as of 5 p.m.

“We have not gotten any real reports of major flooding here in Broward,” Bogen said. “We’ve got some people complaining about some water intrusion, but it’s not been a problem as of yet.” — Carli Teproff


The 4 p.m. National Hurricane Center forecast shows Hurricane Dorian move even farther away from the Florida coast than originally forecast, even though it seems to have stalled as it slowly leaves the Bahamas.

This was welcome news in Martin County, which only two days ago was shown to be almost the exact spot the powerful hurricane was going to make landfall in Florida.

“If you went on the streets of Martin County and rolled your windows down, you would hear a collective sigh of relief,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said during a 5:30 p.m. press conference Monday.

However, the area is still expected to experience tropical storm force winds, and maybe stronger hurricane force winds, before it moves its way up the coast Wednesday.

St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said at a county emergency operations center press conference that Monday afternoon was the “calm before the storm.”

“As soon as nightfall comes, we’re going to have the wind and rain that they’ve been forecasting,” Mascara said.

According to a National Weather Service update for Martin County, “tropical storm conditions [are] expected with hurricane conditions possible” Monday night.

The Weather Service called for west winds between 40 and 45 mph, with gusts up to 65 mph Monday night. Tropical storm conditions are expected through Tuesday night. By Wednesday morning, winds are expected to slow to between 15 and 20 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph possible.

Martin County ordered a mandatory evacuation for the barrier islands of Hutchinson Island and Jupiter Island, as well as Sewell’s Point, manufactured and mobile homes, as well as people living in low-lying areas.

Beaches are also closed and unguarded until further notice.

“Stay home and stay out of the water,” Michele Jones, director of Martin County Emergency Management said at the Monday evening press conference.

Martin County opened five shelters, one of which is “pet-friendly.” The non-pet shelters are: Port Salerno Elementary School, Jensen Beach High School, Hidden Oaks Middle School and Warfield Elementary School. The pet-friendly shelter is Willoughby Learning Center.

Jones said 1,200 people were in the shelters by Monday afternoon. Snyder said there have been no law enforcement issues at the shelters, save for a few people who showed up drunk.

Crystal Stiles with Florida Power and Light said there will likely be power outages even if Dorian remains offshore, and she said the utility is ready with its largest pre-storm response to date. Between regular employees, contractors and utility workers from other states, Stiles said more that 17,000 people are staged to get power restored quickly.

“As long as it’s safe, we will be out restoring power,” Stiles said. — David Goodhue


Disney World has announced that it has adjusted its operating hours on Tuesday ahead of Hurricane Dorian.

Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and Disney Springs will close at 3 p.m. Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom will close at 2 p.m. Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom has been canceled Tuesday; guests with pre-purchased tickets may be able to exchange their tickets or receive a full refund.

Disney Resort hotels remain open, however Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will close at 3 p.m. and reopen “following the storm when it is safe to do so,” according to Disney’s website.

In other Orlando theme park news, Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s City Walk will open as scheduled on Tuesday. Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park will be closed. — Colleen Wright


Orlando International Airport announced that it will cease commercial operations at 2 a.m. Tuesday due to the possibility of sustained tropical storm winds.

MCO could see winds between 40 to 45 miles per hour, which could be unsafe for automated people mover systems and first responders in emergency situations.

“Because of the uncertainty of the storm’s track and the need to complete storm preparations by airport and air carriers, airport executive leadership has determined ceasing commercial operations is necessary,” read the announcement via Twitter.

Passengers are encouraged to check with their airline for updates regarding their specific flight. The airport emphasized that shelter and lodging accommodations should be made prior to arriving at the airport because the airport is not a shelter. — Colleen Wright


State health department locations and services in Miami-Dade will be open Tuesday.

In Miami-Dade, The Nicklaus Children’s Aventura Care Center will remain closed on Tuesday. Radiology services requiring sedation at the hospital’s main campus will also be closed Tuesday. The Nicklaus Children’s West Kendall Outpatient Center will not offer MRI services on Tuesday.

All Nicklaus outpatient centers in Palm Beach Gardens, Miramar and Dan Marino (Weston) will be closed on Tuesday. — Ben Conarck


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4:04 P.M. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said while the city was “very blessed” to have missed a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian Monday, the city’s resources will be diverted to help nearby counties and cities as well as the Bahamas.

“We always prepare as if we have a Category 5,” he said at a press conference at the city’s emergency operations center Monday afternoon. “Our [rescue teams] assist other departments and will help some victims of this tragedy in Marsh Harbour and Freeport [Bahamas].”

The hurricane weakened into a Category 4 earlier Monday, but remained a major hurricane pounding the islands continuously with winds of 150 miles per hour and leaving Floridians nervously awaiting its expected turn northward — away from the state’s coast.

According to a 3 p.m. update, the storm was still sitting 105 miles east of West Palm Beach, pummeling the Bahamas and crawling west at a slow 1 mph.

While the storm continues to threaten northern east coast counties, Miami life will start to return to normal this week. Suarez said the city is tamping down staffing at the city’s emergency operations to essential personnel and will be open for business Tuesday. Employees who commute from Broward and Palm Beach counties, however, will not be asked to come in.

City trolleys will run as scheduled Tuesday so long as the wind remains below 35 mph, city parks will be open and garbage pickup will resume as usual.

The city’s marinas will also be open until 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

One thing the city will be keeping a close eye on is the king tide, which threatens flooding citywide this week. The National Weather Service warned Thursday that this king tide, the second of four expected for the east coast this season, could cause minor flooding during high tide this weekend. Readings from Virginia Key’s tidal gauge showed earlier this week that this tide is already coming in up to eight inches higher than predicted.

High tide will hit at midnight Monday, Suarez warned.

When it comes to the victims of the catastrophic storm in the Bahamas, Miami first responders will likely be deployed this week, and donations are being accepted at fire stations across the city.

Fire stations are collecting donations for victims in the Bahamas, including water, canned goods, can openers, mosquito spray, sunscreen, diapers, baby formula, first aid items, flashlights and small generators. Tropic Air, a local airline, will help deliver the donations from Miami.

“Basically donate the kinds of things that we would need,” Suarez said. “An area like that doesn’t have the same infrastructure we have.” — SAMANTHA J. GROSS


3:43 P.M. With Broward County under a tropical storm watch, Mayor Mark Bogen announced Monday that three general population shelters — including one that will accommodate animals — have opened in case people are concerned about riding out Dorian in their own homes.

“This is voluntary, this is not mandatory, so people who feel uncomfortable for some reason being in their own home can now go to a Broward County shelter,” Bogen said at the county’s Emergency Operations Center in Plantation.

The three shelters are in addition to four special needs shelters that opened Sunday for people who preregistered. Bogen said Monday that those shelters were only about 7 percent of capacity.

The three general population shelters are: Atlantic Technical College/Arthur Ashe Junior Campus, 1701 NW 23rd Ave. in Fort Lauderdale; Monarch High School, 505 Wiles Road in Coconut Creek; and Everglades High School, 17100 SW 48th Court in Miramar.

Everglades High is a pet-friendly shelter. Anyone who shows up at the shelter must bring their animal in a crate and a rabies certificate and a Broward County pet registration tag. They must also bring a litter box for a cat, leash for a dog and food and water for all animals. The animals accepted are: dogs, cats, domestic birds, rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, mice and hamsters.

Because the shelters are voluntary at this point, anybody who goes must bring their own food, water and bedding, Bogen said.

“Today we were getting phone calls from people who still were nervous about the storm,” Bogen said. “Most people are staying in their home and waiting to see what happens.” — CARLI TEPROFF


Sharon Robbins, 102, poses with her daughters Phyllis Frydman (left) and Jodi Rosen (right) in the common room of the Hilton Garden Inn in Palm Beach Gardens on Monday, Sept. 2. The family has been there since evacuating their homes Saturday. Sarah Blaskey

2:43 P.M. About a dozen people gathered in the common room in the Hilton Garden Inn in Palm Beach Gardens around lunchtime Monday.

Most were elderly and had already been at the hotel several days after early storm projections sent them scrambling from their coastal homes across Palm Beach County in an abundance of caution. Many feared the hotel would be full if they waited too long.

“It’s boring,” said Judi Rosen as she watched the U.S. Open on the communal TV with her family. “There’s not much to do,” her husband, Rick Rosen, agreed.

The Rosens have been at the hotel since Saturday with Judi’s 102-year-old mother, Sharon Robbins, who sat in a chair nearby reading a newspaper.

“I am not excited,” Robbins said about the coming storm.

The unusually drawn-out prelude to the storm has made many cooped up in the hotel increasingly restless.

“I am very anxious,” said Renee Kline. “Whatever’s going to happen I wish it would happen already.”

Kline said she has weathered past storms at home but her husband recently died, leaving her alone in their Palm Beach condo, which falls within a mandatory evacuation zone. She said she wasn’t willing to risk it. She had also been at the hotel since Saturday.

“We still don’t really know what is going to happen,” said Kline.

Chatter about storm projections could be heard around the room.

“It’s going north just like Sandy did in 2012,” said Bob Costanza, who had been ordered to evacuate his mobile home in a nearby park. — SARAH BLASKEY


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People gather on Stuart Beach on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, ahead of Hurricane Dorian. DAVID GOODHUE

1:15 P.M. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office Monday afternoon closed the Jensen Beach and Stuart Causeways leading to area beaches ahead of Hurricane Dorian.

The sheriff’s office said in a statement released on Twitter at 12:30 p.m. that only people with “official documentation of residency, employment or other official business” will be allowed across the bridges onto the barrier island.

The latest forecast cone shows the storm heading more west and farther away from the Martin County coast, but the area remains under a hurricane warning, according to the National Weather Service. — DAVID GOODHUE


Stefanie Passieux, 35, left, and her friend, Samantha Cramer, 26, smoke outside Fort Pierce Central High School, one of St. Lucie County’s five shelters, on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019, as Hurricane Dorian inched closer to Florida’s Treasure Coast. MATIAS J. OCNER

1:06 P.M. People in St. Lucie County started seeking shelter Sunday afternoon when several schools opened their doors at 2 p.m.

Stefanie Passieux, 35, has hurricane experience from growing up in Virginia. She stood outside Fort Pierce Central High School, one of the county’s five shelters, smoking a cigarette as pockets of rain interrupted a hot afternoon sun Monday. She’s weathered storms before, but for Dorian, she’s taking shelter for the first time.

“Where I’m living, I just didn’t feel safe,” she said.

Families started streaming in Monday afternoon, carrying blankets and pillows. Children clutched stuffed animals. Inside, people can get a meal, bathe and get weather updates from a large TV tuned to the news.

Principal Mona Rae Buchanan said about 280 people had arrived as of about noon. She and several school staff voluntarily stayed at the school overnight.

“We make sure everyone has what they need, that everyone is comfortable,” she said.

Built about 10 years ago, the school was designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, Buchanan said.



NOON: National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said Monday that after the 11 a.m. forecast update, Floridians should be wary of rising water as early as this evening.

He said that some areas of the Bahamas were getting 30 inches of rain and warned that because of the rain bands and winds, there will be pockets that get massive amounts of rain when it reaches Florida.

The NHC has extended the hurricane warning for most of the Eastern Florida coastline. He said he expects Dorian to pull north Monday night and Tuesday morning.

A storm surge of between two to four feet in Broward County is expected, but the surge will be between four and seven feet in Titusville and Melbourne, Graham said on the latest NHC Facebook video.

He also warned that if people are in an evacuation zone, it is better to leave early “because the water can get there before the wind and you lose your roads and you can’t get out.”

“We’re going to have a hurricane into next week. That is a long time to have a hurricane,’’ he said. “A little bit of a wiggle, a wobble and we’ll start to see a change. … Independent of the tracks, there will be impacts.” — MARY ELLEN KLAS


A surfer rides the waves on Spanish River Park beach in Boca Raton as Hurricane Dorian stalls around 100 miles to the east over the ocean on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. Pedro Portal

11:44 A.M. The eastern edge of Boca Raton seemed relatively normal Monday, except for the occasionally shuttered business, closed gas stations, lack of traffic and hordes of people on the beach under dismal skies.

Most condos along the beach were shuttered or had hurricane windows. Many gas stations were out of fuel and closed. Publix was open, as was the Spanish River Bridge which led to Spanish River Park’s beach.

There, swells were crashing ashore with dozens of people out on surfboards. And the beach was packed — with gawkers, not sunbathers. Lines of people were standing with cameras and GoPros watching the crashing waves and the surfers.

Jennifer Attonito, a teacher at Florida Atlantic University, boarded up her home and headed for the beach. She was confident Dorian wouldn’t cause too much damage to her city. Most people on the beach Monday seemed to feel that way as well.

“I always go to the beach during a hurricane, it’s my favorite scene. The big waves are pretty crazy,” she said. “I’m sure we’re going to lose power and be annoyed.”

Not far from her was business developer Ben Friedman and his wife and young kids, who weren’t quite building sand castles, but were doing something in the sand. “You never see people standing on the beach like this,” Friedman said. “It reminds me of a movie where people are waiting on a major event.” — CHARLES RABIN


According to a study by the U.S. Geographical Survey, 80 percent of the coastline from Florida to North Carolina is vulnerable to beach and sand dune erosion from Hurricane Dorian. If the storm stays on its current path, Georgia and South Carolina will suffer the most. — RENE RODRIGUEZ


Plywood covers the windows of the Manatee Island Bar and Grill in Port Salerno, a small waterfront town in unincorporated Martin County. David Goodhue

11:30 A.M. Monday morning in Martin County saw a chronic cycle of heavy winds and rain followed by brief periods of sunshine.

In Port Salerno, a small unincorporated waterfront town on the St. Lucie River inlet, businesses — mostly bars and grills dotted throughout the marina — were closed and boarded up.

The staff of the Manatee Island Bar and Grill was finishing last-minute preparations at 11 a.m.

Owner Paul Gonnella said he and his staff started shuttering the popular eatery and watering hole Sunday night following a busy dinner crowd.

“We stayed open until 8 p.m. last night. We were the last place open on the waterfront, and we were busy,” Gonnella said. “A brief rain came in at 8 o’clock. That shut everything down. The rain was gone in about 20 minutes, so we started bringing in the remaining tables.”

Gonnella said he plans to get back to Port Salerno soon after Dorian passed to check on his business.

“As soon as it’s safe, we’ll be back here. We’re worried about looting,” he said. “The perception is people will think we have full propane tanks, liquor. High-profile theft items.” — DAVID GOODHUE


The ocean churns at the Juno Beach Pier on Monday, Sept. 2. Sarah Blaskey

10:28 A.M. Windows around town were shuttered but cars still moved along the A1A where a few joggers and cyclists got in a last-minute workout before the storm.

If Hurricane Dorian does not turn north as predicted, Juno Beach would be in for nearly a direct hit. On Monday morning, winds were picking up, but residents remained confident.

“It’s going north,” said Ann Huff, a 30-year Juno Beach resident. “When I was pregnant I knew I was going to have a boy. I have the same feeling here. It’s going north.”

Huff and her husband, Brandt, and their French Bulldog huddled under a sea grape tree, waiting for an intermittent rain shower to pass before heading to the beach.

Around 10 am, mid-tide waves were already touching the Juno Beach pier, located just north of the Loggerhead Marine Life Sanctuary. Round turtle eggs littered the dark sand under the pier, where stormy conditions on top of a king tide had already torn up their nests.

Several dozen local residents had made their way to the beach, where they walked dogs and took pictures of the churning ocean.

“We’re out here to see what it’s like before whatever’s going to happen happens,” said Jill Dawson, who walked the beach with her husband, Brian, and their dog, Jax.

“We’re hoping it goes north, praying it goes north,” Dawson said.

Two kite surfers braved the conditions as crowds of people looked on, catching the last rays of sunlight before barricading themselves into their homes with the weather channel on. Most of Juno Beach is in an evacuation zone C. So far only zones A and B have evacuation orders. — SARAH BLASKEY


Beachgoers in Sexton Plaza watch the waves crash onto Vero Beach as Hurricane Dorian inches closer to Florida’s Treasure Coast on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019. MATIAS J. OCNER

9:39 A.M. Vero Beach residents gathered in Sexton Plaza to look at the increasing choppy surf.

A blustery wind blew salt and sand as Officer Jennifer Brumley advised people to heed the evacuation order given for communities east of U.S. Highway 1.

She put it simply: The storm continues west and has not made the desperately needed turn north, so cross over to the mainland now before conditions force police to close the bridges.

“People have been talking about this turn, but it hasn’t turned yet,” Brumley said. “It’s still heading west. It could turn, we want it to turn, but what if it doesn’t?” — JOEY FLECHAS


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9:27 a.m. Airbnb has launched its “Open Homes Program,” which provides free housing to displaced residents and disaster relief workers impacted by Hurricane Dorian. The program is available through Sept. 16. — RENE RODRIGUEZ



9:13 a.m. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Palm Beach International Airport will close at noon Monday “until further notice” due to the Hurricane Dorian threat. Miami International Airport remains open for now. Check with your airline. — DAVID J. NEAL

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