Dorian threatens Florida's East Coast

Gov. DeSantis in contact with state Division of Emergency Management

By Jim Turner and Tom Urban, The News Service of Florida, Mike Vasilinda - Tallahassee Bureau Chief
Nick Underwood, NOAA

#NOAA49, NOAA's G-IV also known as “Gonzo”, flies at 40 to 45 thousand feet above Tropical Storm Dorian gathering important atmospheric data, feeding models used by NHC forecasters. (Photo: Nick Underwood, NOAA)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Most of Florida could see a wet Labor Day weekend, with the East Coast facing tropical-storm force or stronger winds from Tropical Storm Dorian.

In a tweet Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis advised East Coast residents to start preparing for Dorian.

“Based on the current track of #TropicalStormDorian, all residents on the East Coast should prepare for impacts, including strong winds, heavy rain and flooding,” DeSantis tweeted. “Make sure to have your supplies ready and follow @FLSERT (the Florida Division of Emergency Management) and local media for the latest updates on the forecast.”

DeSantis held a conference call with Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz and later with the entire state emergency response team.

With South Florida Water Management District meteorologists predicting rainfall of up to 8 inches in some areas over the weekend, the district announced Tuesday it has started to draw down canals to help local drainage districts and governments reduce flooding.

Forecasters remain uncertain on the track and strength of the hurricane season’s fourth tropical storm.

The state’s emergency management center has not been activated yet, in part because it is still unclear what the storm may do as of Tuesday afternoon. Moskowitz said more than anything else, people need to pay attention.

"Obviously, we understand this is not Hurricane Michael or Hurricane Irma, but every storm is different and challenging, and as we get into the holiday weekend, we want to make sure everybody has seven days of water and food, medical supplies and prescription drugs if that's something that you need," he said. "Please continue to watch the news these things can change very quickly."

UNCUT: Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz gives update on Dorian 

The National Hurricane Center, which expects winds from Dorian to arrive across Florida on Saturday morning, said in its forecast the entire East Coast, from the Georgia border to just north of Key West, is in the cone of probability for landfall Sunday morning.

“Whether it’s a remnant that doesn’t have a chance to regenerate or if it’s a hurricane, it does look like it’s going to take aim on the state of Florida,” said Mark Wool, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee. “The track may shift north or south a little bit. Currently, it’s forecast to track in somewhere just south of Cape Canaveral, so somewhere on the East-Central Florida coast.”

The center of Dorian was southeast of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola on Tuesday.

Wood said the current path could lead to mountains in Hispaniola disrupting the system, but Dorian could strengthen “once it passes by those islands and gets to the Bahamas.”

Wool noted the weather service is providing information to Florida State University, whose football team is playing Saturday in Jacksonville against Boise State.

“We are going to be keeping them informed about what conditions are going to be looking like there,” Wool said. “It has happened in the past where football games have been postponed because of tropical systems. We are going to make sure they have that information at the ready to make that call, if the time comes to do so.”

Copyright WJXT and News Service of Florida. All rights reserved.