1. Hurricane

Ron DeSantis warns Florida that Dorian will be ‘multi-day event’

Speaking at the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee Friday morning, DeSantis said the storm is expected to bring heavy rainfall and flooding to much of the peninsula.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday. [News Service of Florida] [News Service of Florida]
Published Aug. 30
Updated Aug. 30

As Hurricane Dorian appears to shift closer to South Florida for a potential Tuesday morning landfall, Gov. Ron DeSantis warned Floridians that they still have time — though it is decreasing — to prepare for what is expected to be Florida’s first major hurricane of the season.

Speaking at the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee on Friday morning, DeSantis said the storm is expected to bring heavy rainfall and flooding to much of the peninsula, though the storm’s exact track still remains uncertain. Dorian, which is forecast to become a Category 4 storm, is also slowing considerably as it nears the state’s eastern coast, which could subject areas to “prolonged” winds, storm surge and rain, forecasters have said. Tropical-storm force winds are expected to reach Florida as early as Sunday.

“The bad news of this storm going slower is that it could have some negative impacts before it reaches landfall,” he said, warning the storm could be a “multi-day event” churning slowly across the state. “You have time to prepare if you have not done so.”

State officials have begun preparing for the storm across the state, DeSantis said Friday, distributing about a million gallons of water, with plans to distribute almost two million meals from a central warehouse hub in Orlando. The Department of Transportation has cleared the shoulders of major highways including I-95 and I-75 to prepare for evacuation orders that could come from local governments as early as Friday, DeSantis added.

“Please heed those directives from your local folks,” he said. “If you’re in an evacuation zone and you’re ordered to evacuate, [it’s] better to evacuate.”

As lines for gas and fuel grow longer in potentially affected areas, the Florida Highway Patrol is escorting tankers to get fuel in sooner, he said. Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz is working with Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia to waive service fees and truck weight limits to expedite refueling, he added.

“There’s some parts of the state where you have major lines for gas, cars are lined up,” he said. “We have a lot of fuel in Florida. It’s just we have limited capacity to bring it from the port to the gas stations because you can only have so many trucks at one time doing that.”

Florida National Guard commander James Eifert added that 2,000 National Guard members have been activated, and that that number would double by Saturday.

At an afternoon briefing in Palm Beach County, DeSantis said his request for a pre-landfall disaster declaration Thursday for all of the state’s 67 counties to enable federal resources and funding for emergency measures to reach the state as Dorian pummels the state has been granted.

“That will enable us to draw down more federal resources in anticipation of this storm,” he said.

The state Agency for Health Care Administration is doing site visits or calls to nursing homes before the storm hits, and released a new website Thursday to help people track their generator status.

DeSantis said that the agency is still trying to determine generator information for about 120 facilities. Despite a mandate approved by the state Legislature last year, nearly 60% of the state’s nursing homes still do not meet the new requirements for backup power and fuel and have been given additional time by state officials to meet the regulations.

DeSantis said there are also plans to put state prisoners into facilities that can withstand the storm’s potential impacts, but said he was not aware of what might happen to federal prisoners in institutions like FCI Miami.

“We’re not really going to take federal prisoners, I don’t think there’s a plan for that,” he said. “They obviously have their own facilities and are responsible for those those inmates.”

During the afternoon briefing, DeSantis said the storm’s current track could mean “more impacts here in Palm Beach County.”

“That’s obviously something that’s very significant,” he said. “We want everyone in Palm Beach County to be making the necessary preparations.”

But he said everyone should be ready, just in case.

“The constant in this that this thing is getting stronger,” he said.

DeSantis was scheduled to travel to Orange County later Friday.

Miami Herald staff writer Carli Teproff contributed to this report.

2019 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at

PREPARE YOUR STUFF: Get your documents and your data ready for a storm

BUILD YOUR KIT: The stuff you’ll need to stay safe — and comfortable — for the storm

PROTECT YOUR PETS: Your pets can’t get ready for a storm. That’s your job

NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter

What Michael taught the Panhandle and Tampa Bay

What the Panhandle’s top emergency officials learned from Michael

‘We’re not going to give up.’ What a school superintendent learned from Michael

What Tampa Bay school leaders fear most from a storm

Tampa Bay’s top cops fear for those who stay behind


  1. This satellite image shows Hurricane Michael on Oct. 9, 2018, as it enters the Gulf of Mexico. It made landfall near Mexico Beach in the Panhandle as a Category 5 storm. [Photo courtesy of NOAA] NOAA
    Nearly a year after the storm, 18,000 claims are still open.
  2. The tropical outlook on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2019. National Hurricane Center
    The depression is expected to become Tropical Storm Jerry by early Wednesday, then strengthen to a hurricane by the weekend.
  3. Hurricane Humberto's projected path as of 5 a.m. Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. National Hurricane Center
    It could become a major hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
  4. The forecast track for Hurricane Humberto, as of 5 a.m. Monday. National Hurricane Center
    The Category 1 hurricane is moving away from the southeastern United States and expected to approach Bermuda by Wednesday night.
  5. Mos Antenor, 42, drives a bulldozer while clearing the road after Hurricane Dorian Mclean's Town, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Friday Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa) RAMON ESPINOSA  |  AP
    Threatening to exacerbate islands’ problems, Humberto’s rains were falling on Abaco island.
  6. Members of the fire rescue team Task Force 8, from Gainesville, Florida, help remove a body one week after Hurricane Dorian hit The Mudd neighborhood in the Marsh Harbor area of Abaco Island, Bahamas, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Dorian, the most powerful hurricane in the northwestern Bahamas' recorded history, has killed at least 44 people in Bahamas as of Sunday, Sept. 8, according to the government. GONZALO GAUDENZI  |  AP
    Many in the northwestern Bahamas, known for its casinos, golf courses and mega yachts, worry they will be forced into deep poverty.
  7. The tropical outlook on Saturday Sept. 14, 2019. National Hurricane Center
    A north-northwest turn is expected by Sunday, just as the storm is projected to become a hurricane.
  8. The tropical outlook on Saturday Sept. 14, 2019. National Hurricane Center
    Humberto’s wind speeds reached 40 mph on Saturday as it’s expected to turn north-northwest.
  9. Wreckage left behind by Hurricane Michael. News Service of Florida
    Entire school systems are still recovering from long-standing damage and dealing with the disruptive aftermath of the storm.
  10. A 12-year-old Bahamian girl was separated from parents in Nassau after being rescued from Abaco. She ended up in a Miami home for migrant kids. COURTESY OF PAUL FAMILY
    Katyora Paul was released from a Miami shelter to her mother.