Hurricane

Hurricane Dorian live updates: Florida could soon shift resources to other storm-struck areas

After slamming the Bahamas for more than 12 hours, the catastrophic Hurricane Dorian began to inch northwest along the Florida coast on Tuesday morning at 2 miles per hour. The major storm was downgraded to a Category 2, still packing winds of about 110 mph as it approached the Central Florida Atlantic coast.

Follow live updates from Miami Herald staff on all things Dorian.

5:22 P.M — MOTHER NATURE PUTS ON A SHOW IN MARTIN COUNTY

The worst squalls and rain bands from Hurricane Dorian hit the east Central Florida counties of Martin and St. Lucie Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

The outer rain bands of Dorian were felt all day, but they got more frequent and fierce around 3 p.m. The winds and rains made driving especially difficult crossing over the two bridges that make up the causeway to Hutchinson Island.

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People gather on Jensen Beach Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, to watch the huge surf churned up by Hurricane Dorian. David Goodhue Miami Herald

Nevertheless, the conditions didn’t stop dozens of people from driving onto the barrier island once Martin County opened the causeway around 3 p.m.

“I’m loving it,” said Bill Hernandez, of Port St. Lucie, who was standing on Jensen Beach watching the huge waves pound the shoreline with his wife, Marily Hernandez. “I just wanted to come out here and see what Mother Nature does.”

Between Sunday and Tuesday, much of the sand on Hutchinson Island was lost to erosion caused by Dorian. On Stuart Beach Tuesday afternoon, piping plovers ran up and down the dunes over exposed seagrape vines.

-David Goodhue, staff writer

5:09 P.M. — ALCOHOL WAS FLOWING AT THE THIRSTY OYSTER IN COCOA BEACH

With patchy rain and squally gusts Tuesday afternoon, beer and liquor still flowed at the Thirsty Oyster on Tuesday afternoon, one of the only signs of life by the beach. The bar on A1A in Cocoa Beach blasted Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac as people did shots of Fireball, downed Budweisers and shared laughs.

“It’s a prideful community,” said Rhiannon Dias, 41, who lives on Merritt Island. “We’ve been through this before.”

Standing outside the bar on a paved a plaza leading to the beach access, between sips of a rum and diet, she said she was glad Hurricane Dorian was weakening and not on track to pummel the Space Coast.

It’s not going to be bad here,” she said. “I’m definitely relieved that we’re not getting the worst of it.”

- Joey Flechas, staff writer

4:43 P.M. — BROWARD TO CLOSE DOWN EMERGENCY OPERATION CENTER

With the tropical storm watch lifted, Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen said normal business operations for the county will begin at 7 p.m.

He said all county offices, parks and libraries will be open Wednesday. Earlier in the day, the mayor announced that schools and courthouses would be open Wednesday.

County services including trash pickup will be on their normal schedules.

At the conference, Bogen said anyone wishing to help those impacted by the storm in the Bahamas could now donated to UnitedWayBroward.org.

- Carli Teproff, staff writer

4:05 P.M. — DESPITE MINOR FLOODS, MARTIN COUNTY RESIDENTS FEEL THE WORST OF DORIAN IS BEHIND THEM

Chris Andrews was walking around Port Salerno, a small town in unincorporated Martin County on the St. Lucie River inlet, along with a few neighbors on Tuesday morning.

“We got really lucky. Incredibly lucky,” Andrews said, thinking back to just two days ago when forecasters said Martin County might be where the massive storm made landfall when it was done battering the Bahamas.

“We’re just thinking about the Abaco Islands and The Bahamas and how devastating it is for them,” he said.

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Port Salerno in Martin County experienced some flooding Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, but residents said rides were high here before Dorian arrived. David Goodhue/FL Keys News

Dorian instead stayed off shore as it edged its way up Florida, but was still whipping coastal areas with tropical storm force winds along its way.

Port Salerno has some flooding along some of the mangrove-lined streets and in some areas of the marina, but Brian Wilson, who lives on a boat said that is from the extra high tides that were here before Dorian.

The county closed the beaches in the area Monday afternoon, and they remained closed Tuesday because of the tropical storm conditions.

-David Goodhue, staff writer

4 P.M. — HOW CAN YOU HELP THE BAHAMAS FROM SOUTH FLORIDA? WE MADE A LIST

Whether you’re in Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Key West, here’s how you can help The Bahamas from home.

3:45 P.M. — BAHAMIAN AUTHORITIES STRUGGLE TO REACH CITIZENS IN NEED, RESCUE DESPERATE RESIDENTS ON JET SKIS

While Hurricane Dorian slowly broke away from The Bahamas and off the coast of Florida, Bahamian authorities attempted to respond to the thousands of calls for help from residents trapped in their hopes, shelters and hospitals in Grand Bahama.

“Be patient, stay where you are and we will come to you,” said Minister of State for Grand Bahamas, Senator Kwasi Thompson, in a message to trapped citizens, broadcast by local radio station ZNS Network over Facebook.

Officials recognized the difficult situation on the island, with no water, electricity and many homes still underwater, as well as the desperation of thousands of Bahamians who were trying to reach their loved ones. One emergency center official in Grand Bahama said she had personally fielded over 250 calls from people asking for help for their loved ones, but that rescues in some inaccessible areas could be delayed.

“It’s going to be a long day here in Grand Bahama, but the important thing is that we’re here and we’ll try to move forward,” said Don Cornish, director of disaster management on the island.

Thompson said rescue staff on jet skis were able to take several people trapped near Casuarina Bridge over to dry land.

“Conditions continue to be rough, we mobilized police, they escorted us to Casuarina Bridge,” Thompson told ZNS Network. “We mobilized jet skis, now they’re rescuing people out of the area. We witnessed of how they brought people to dry land, a woman and a baby, right on the back of a jet ski.”

- Nora Gámez Torres, staff writer

3:40 P.M. — LANTANA RESIDENTS ‘CELEBRATE’ DODGING DORIAN

Over at Sportsman’s Marina in Lantana, home of the 70-foot fishing vessel the Lady K, which was taken to the Florida Keys as a precaution, several people waded through intracoastal water that had crept over the bank.

Gaelle Cardenas, 8, and Gloria Teske were showing off a homemade paper sign attached to a tree branch.

“I survived Dorian. Now let’s celebrate,” it said.

Near them were Joseph Baize, 3, and Megan Call, 20. Call’s mother, Luann Call, said water this high wasn’t actually all that unusual. She blamed much of it on the King Tide and climate change.

Dean Hillman of Boynton Beach was checking on his friend’s boat the “Game On.” He said friends of his in town lost a home in the Bahamas.

“We were pretty lucky,” he said.

- Charles Rabin, staff writer

3:30 P.M. — U.S. DEFENSE DEPT. OFFICIALS: FLORIDA COULD SHIFT NATIONAL GUARD RESOURCES

Because Dorian looks like it will miss much of Florida, the state is now looking at how best to shift resources to help the rest of the East Coast, defense officials told reporters at a Tuesday briefing on the storm.

“Florida is reevaluating as we speak, its posture and its required force on duty,” said Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau. “And when they decide they no longer need them for Florida, they make them available to share to other states. As this storm moves north, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, we’ll in succession add more forces to their National Guard structures that are in place.”

About one-third of North Carolina’s National Guard forces are unavailable to work Dorian because they are on orders to deploy overseas, but the state has agreements in place already to be assisted by neighboring states.

- Tara Copp, McClatchy staff writer

3:10 P.M. — DESANTIS SAYS FLORIDA READY TO ASSIST OTHER STORM-STRUCK AREAS

“I think we’re fortunate that this will have minimal impact on Florida,” acting Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Peter Gaynor said at a press conference with Gov. Ron DeSantis in Tallahassee. “It’s still not over yet, so be prepared for any scenario.”

DeSantis urged Floridians to obey evacuation orders by local authorities. At 2 p.m., Dorian was about 100 miles away from Fort Pierce, moving slowly up the coast at 2 miles per hour.

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A surfer crosses A1A on his way to the Spanish River Park beach in Boca Raton as Hurricane Dorian is ‘beginning to inch northwestward’ while still pounding the Bahamas on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. Pedro Portal pportal@miamiherald.com

“This is going to be riding Florida’s coast for the next day, day and a half,” DeSantis said. “While we think this is a much better track than what we were looking at 72 hours ago, we just ask people to stay safe, remain vigilant.”

DeSantis said he expects some parts of the state will experience storm surge flooding and wind damage, but it could be less than what Northeast Florida experienced during 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, another Category 5 storm that strafed the state’s east coast.

Once Florida is in the clear, he said he expects FEMA crews and linemen from Florida Power & Light to shift their resources to other parts of the country in the hurricane’s path.

He also said that he’s told Air Force Maj. Gen. James Eifert, the head of the Florida National Guard, to send guard resources to the Bahamas if it’s requested.

“If there’s a request from the National Guard to assist with that … we would be willing to meet that request,” DeSantis said.

- Lawrence Mower, Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times staff writer

3:03 P.M. — COCOA BEACH RESIDENTS TAKE TO PIER FOR STORM PHOTO OPS

The waves kicking up at the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier gave a few dozen people photo ops Tuesday morning. Kids splashed around, did cartwheels and took selfies on a low-lying lifeguard stand — until ocean rescue kicked them out.

“It could wash out,” said the woman on the ATV through a bullhorn.

The choppy waves crashed against the pylons holding up the Rikki Tiki Tavern at the end of the pier, sending spray up toward beach as people took videos with their phones.

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Beachgoers watch the waves wash onto Cocoa Beach as winds from the outer bands of Hurricane Dorian start to kick up the surf on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. MATIAS J. OCNER mocner@miamiherald.com

“It’s not usually like this,” said Bill Bell, 64, who grew up on Merritt Island. He cruised down to the beach in his gray Mazda convertible, top down and not worried about the tropical storm force winds that could arrive in the evening. Several locals noted that the surf looked angrier, but it wasn’t anything they hadn’t seen before.

“You just get to a point where it’s like, c’mon, let’s just do this,” said Peggy Spaeth, 60, who came to the shore with her son and grandson to get out of their shuttered manufactured home on Merritt Island.

- Joey Flechas, staff writer

2:22 P.M. — HURRICANE DORIAN PARALYZES HOSPITALS IN THE BAHAMAS

Dramatic video surfaced on social media late Monday night showing severe flooding at a major hospital on Great Bahama Island, with local media there reporting that emergency room patients were forced to evacuate the facility while wading through knee-deep floodwaters.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday morning that Hurricane Dorian “crippled” local hospitals as it parked over the Bahamas for a day and a half, pouring rain and whipping up seawater.

Health Minister Duane Sands reported that the storm left Rand Memorial Hospital, the main healthcare facility in Grand Bahama, “unusable,” and that another hospital in Marsh Harbour in the Abaco Islands was intact but sheltering 400 people in need of food, water, medicine and surgical supplies, according to the AP.

Sands said that crews were attempting to airlift five to seven kidney failure patients from Abaco who had not received dialysis since Friday.

The U.S. Coast Guard on Monday shared an aerial photo of the Marsh Harbour Clinic, which was surrounded by downed trees and saturated earth.

The Coast Guard also said four MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews had completed medical evacuations for 19 people, ranging in age from children to the elderly, from the healthcare facility and transported them to medical personnel at Nassau International Airport.

- Ben Conarck, staff writer

2:15 P.M. — U.S. PREPARES DISASTER AID FOR BAHAMAS

A USAID official told McClatchy that aid has been prepositioned in Miami, Houston, Barbados, Haiti and Dominica — including food, hygiene kits and plastic sheeting for emergency shelter — awaiting shipment to the Bahamas once the agency’s disaster team completes its first assessment of the damage.

“We have stuff ready to go — but right now we’re preparing to do assessments,” the official stated.

- Michael Wilner and Tara Copp, McClatchy staff writers

2:07 P.M. — FORT LAUDERDALE RESIDENT’S FATHER DIES IN BAHAMAS WHILE TRYING TO ESCAPE FLOODS

The morning before Hurricane Dorian made landfall on the Abacos Islands in the Bahamas on Sunday, 67-year-old Walter Saintilaire told his daughter in Fort Lauderdale he was bracing for the storm and helping his neighbors do the same.

“To be honest,” his daughter, 32-year-old Walnide Saintilaire, said, “I didn’t know it was going to be this bad.”

Saintilaire said she found out Monday that her father died trying to escape his home of nearly 30 years, crushed beneath its collapsed roof. Friends of the family in Murphy Town, Central Abaco, told Saintilaire that they saw her father die as the storm’s 185 mph winds and unrelenting flooding overtook the area.

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Walter Saintilaire, 67, pictured left, died escaping from his Abacos Island, Bahamas, home during Hurricane Dorian over the weekend, his daughter told the Miami Herald Courtesy: Walnide Saintilaire

Now she’s trying to obtain a photo of her father’s body to confirm the news to her family. At least five people died in the Abacos Islands, and 21 others were injured — five seriously — around the Bahamas during Hurricane Dorian’s crawl across the length of the archipelago.

But local news reports indicate the death toll may rise.

Read the full Miami Herald report here.

- Martin Vassolo, staff writer

12:10 P.M. — FPL: POWER RESTORED FOR 60,000 CUSTOMERS

Florida Power & Light said Tuesday 60,000 customers have had their power restored, after reported outages resulting from trees and debris in power lines.

12 P.M. — MOST SCHOOLS, COLLEGES TO REOPEN WEDNESDAY

South Florida is getting back to normal after bracing for one of the most ferocious storms in decades. That means most schools, colleges and universities will be back in session Wednesday following Hurricane Dorian’s no-show in the area.

For a full list of schools set to reopen, read more here.

- Colleen Wright, staff writer

11:50 A.M. — BROWARD MAYOR: ‘READY TO GET BACK TO BUSINESS’

Broward Mayor Mark Bogen announced that schools and courts will open Wednesday. Bus service resumes at noon Tuesday.

Bogen said the county is also in the process of closing down the seven shelters — four of which were for people with special needs.

He said the county’s response has “been perfect.”

Bogen also noted that as soon as the Emergency Operation Center is scaled down “we are going to look to see what we can do as a county to help the people of the Bahamas.”

- Carli Teproff, staff writer

11:47 A.M. — GIMENEZ, SUAREZ, BAHAMAS CONSUL GENERAL SPEAK ON RELIEF UPDATES

Miami-Dade County on Tuesday announced four locations accepting donations for the Bahamas, expanding what’s expected to be one of the broadest relief drives in Miami-Dade history. Other local governments have already announced drop-off spots for supplies.

“As a country, we’re humbled by the support,” Linda Mackey, consul general in Miami for the Bahamas, said at a County Hall press conference called by Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “We are in urgent need of help.”

The four locations:

Stephen Clark Center (111 NW First St.)

Joseph Caleb Center (5400 NW 22nd Ave.)

The county’s Emergency Operations warehouse (8008 NW 14th St., Doral).

The main Miami-Dade library (101 W. Flagler St.)

As part of the statewide effort to send relief to the hurricane-ravaged Bahamas, the City of Miami also plans to send donated supplies out from 14 city fire stations and two Coconut Grove churches.

“We have all seen the images of devastation in the Bahamas,” Mayor Francis Suarez said at a press conference Tuesday, standing in front of a stockpile of donated supplies at Fire Station 8 in Coconut Grove. “We will continue [to collect items] for as long as we have to.”

Suarez said he recently spoke with Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest, who requested a list of items to help those affected in the islands, including: water, bed sheets, diapers, canned foods, can openers, portable beds, gardening gloves, hygiene products, generators, tents, flashlights, mosquito spray and batteries.

- Doug Hanks and Samantha Gross, staff writers

11:02 A.M. — SOUTH FLORIDA REP. JONES: FAMILY SAYS BAHAMAS ‘IN BAD CONDITION’

State Rep. Shevrin Jones, who has been publishing frequent updates from his family in The Bahamas, told the Miami Herald that he has been unable to reach many of his relatives because their phones aren’t working. But he spoke Tuesday morning with one of his cousins, who told him that search and rescue missions continue for missing people.

“He just shared that it’s in bad condition. There are a lot of people who still haven’t been found. They don’t know if they’re trapped in their homes or displaced. There’s water everywhere,” Jones said. “He just kept saying, ‘It’s really bad, cuz. It’s really bad.’ ”

Jones, D-West Park, is promoting a relief drive led by Miami activist Valencia Gunder and is accepting supplies at his father’s church, Koinona Worship Center and Village, 4900 West Hallandale Beach Blvd. in Pembroke Park. He said the reaction has been positive so far, and that Bahamian Consul General Linda Mackey and U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, have secured two planes that should be able to fly supplies over starting Thursday.

Gunder said her understanding is that the first planes will ship medical supplies, and other supplies, like clothes and diapers, will be shipped later. She said the room where supplies are being accepted at 5120 NW 24th Ave., Miami is already filled.

“I’m on the phone trying to find a trailer to store the rest of the donations,” she said. “I know the first plane is going in on Thursday. The logistics is looking like they’ll take medical supplies first.”

For other drives near you, check out our list of relief efforts in South Florida.

- David Smiley, staff writer

11 A.M. — FORT LAUDERDALE INT’L AIRPORT TO REOPEN AT NOON

“FLL and North Perry Airports will resume operations at 12 Noon today,” the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport tweeted Tuesday morning. Travelers are asked to contact airlines to confirm flights are running as scheduled.

- Bianca Padró Ocasio, staff writer

10:51 A.M. — FORECASTERS RULE OUT MAJOR HURRICANE CONDITIONS IN FLORIDA, STATE EMERGENCY STAFF SAYS

Hurricane Dorian’s wrath won’t be fully felt on Florida’s coast as it skirts the shore in the next few days, but state officials said they are still watching for storm surges and flooding in northeast counties along the storm’s path.

At a Tuesday morning briefing at the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee, forecasters said they had largely ruled out major hurricane conditions in Florida that could cause substantial structural damage but that they were watching as Dorian’s outer bands began to sweep over the Treasure Coast and farther north.

Kevin Guthrie, the deputy director of the state’s emergency management division, said parts of the coast had already begun to see Dorian’s impact, including some dune breaches in Flagler County. State officials are also monitoring the St. Johns River for potential flooding in the next few days.

Ashley Davis, director of operations, said the state may also start looking to send resources to states farther north that may also be brushed by Dorian’s path. But he urged responders to remain prepared for the worst-possible scenario.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so frustrated in my career with a hurricane,” he said. “I’ll feel a lot better when [Dorian’s] off Florida’s seaboard.”

— Elizabeth Koh, staff writer

10 A.M. — WEST PALM BEACH RESIDENTS OUT AND ABOUT, MAR-A-LAGO REMAINS SHUTTERED IN PREPARATION FOR STORM

Although it was breezy with intermittent rain showers, the weather in West Palm Beach was unremarkable. Still most shops remain closed. Among the only places open were a gas station, a coin laundry and a bait and tackle shop off Southern Boulevard.

Police have blocked the bridge to Palm Beach and are frequently patrolling the elite island that’s home to President Donald Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago and the late Jeffrey Epstein’s South Florida residence, both of which have been shuttered in preparation for the storm. The barrier island is in a mandatory evacuation zone.

- Sarah Blaskey, staff writer

9:52 A.M. — SECRETARY POMPEO: COAST GUARD CONDUCTING SEARCH AND RESCUE IN BAHAMAS

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. Coast Guard was conducting search and rescue operations in The Bahamas, while the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance was mobilizing to aid the Bahamian government.

“Our prayers are with our Bahamian friends as they confront the aftermath of Hurricane #Dorian,” Pompeo tweeted.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Nassau said the Coast Guard has begun to evacuate injured people from Abaco Islands to Nassau to receive urgent care.

- Nora Gámez Torres, staff writer

9:45 A.M. — MIAMI DADE COLLEGE TO REOPEN WEDNESDAY

Miami Dade College will resume normal operations on Wednesday, Sept. 4, the school said Tuesday. Find the latest information on the school’s website at www.mdc.edu.

- Bianca Padró Ocasio, staff writer

9:05 A.M. — SURFERS CATCH STORM WAVES IN DELRAY BEACH

Shutters remained up on the condos lining the coast near Delray Beach, but people and surfers, as they did the day before, made their way to the sand and the waves.

Not many were surfing, the dangerous waves too much of a hazard.

But Chris Bal, a 31-year-old from Fort Lauderdale drove north to catch a few waves.

“I’m thankful it didn’t come this way. It’s not fun to go through storms. We dodged a bullet,” he said. “And I drove up because I knew the wind was coming from the west so there wasn’t too much danger.”

- Charles Rabin, staff writer

OVERNIGHT — IN COCOA BEACH, A LONE BAR STAYS OPEN

The stretch from I-95 out to the shore was desolate, street after street of boarded and shuttered strip mall storefronts and empty parking lots. There was no place for a weary traveler — not that there were very many of those up Florida’s east coast — to find a bite to eat.

On the barrier island, most hotels were empty and restaurants dark. Except one.

“We don’t run from hurricanes,” said Scott Heiman, a bartender at Sandbar. “We drink ‘em.”

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Matias Ocner

The Sandbar, a beachfront sports pub on Ocean Beach Boulevard, prides itself on being a last-to-close, first-to-open place on Cocoa Beach. Heiman, who lives a short distance away on Merritt Island, isn’t going to evacuate. He’d rather be close by to get back to work.

Sandbar probably won’t open Tuesday. Workers are planning to put up shutters and throw down sandbags overnight. But it might not be long after the area is supposed to feel some of Dorian’s power on Wednesday that the bar will reopen its doors.

Irma was the last hurricane to bruise Cocoa Beach, but not deeply.

“A water main broke on the mainland, so we didn’t have water for three days, but other than that ... “

He paused, smirking.

“... my mailbox flew off.”

-Joey Flechas, staff writer

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