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. The projected path of Tropical Storm Olga National Hurricane Center
    The storm is expected to merge with a cold front and become post-tropical before impacting Louisiana late tonight.
  2. The low-pressure system in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico has a 60-percent chance of development over the next two to five days. National Hurricane Center
    Most models don’t project the system to become anything stronger than a tropical depression. And a short-lived one, at that.
  3. The projected path of Nestor National Hurricane Center
    Nestor is expected to dump two to four inches of rain in Tampa Bay, along with the threat of tornadoes.
  4. The projected path for Tropical Storm Nestor, according to the National Hurricane Center. National Hurricane Center
    Tampa Bay should expect wind and rain tonight into Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service
  5. The sun sets over a slab which once served as a foundation for a home on Mexico Beach in May. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Area leaders fear lower population numbers will lead to reduced federal funding and political representation.
  6. The projected path for Potential Tropical Cyclone 16, according to the National Hurricane Center. National Hurricane Center
    Thunderstorms have been spotted off the west coast of Florida as Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 moves over the central Gulf of Mexico.
  7. The tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico that’s projected to strengthen as it approaches Florida could put a crimp ― or much worse ― in Tampa Bay’s weekend plans. National Hurricane Center
    The National Weather Service warns that the Gulf of Mexico disturbance could strengthen and bring wind, rain and possibly tornadoes to the bay area.
  8. A broad area of low pressure headed toward the Gulf of Mexico will bring wind, rain and possibly tornadoes to the Tampa Bay area this weekend. National Hurricane Center
    The National Hurricane Center has issued a storm surge watch for Florida’s Gulf Coast from Indian Pass to Clearwater.
  9. 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. Florida State University professor Wenyuan Fan said the storm probably created "stormquakes" offshore in the gulf, too. [Photo courtesy of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration]] NOAA
    Analysis of a decade of records shows hurricanes causing seismic activity on continental shelf
  10. Tropical depression 15 has formed in the eastern Atlantic. National Weather Service
    The newly formed system joins a tropical wave off the coast of South America.