Governor Ron DeSantis Issues Updates on Hurricane Dorian; Thanks First Responders and Emergency Management Officials
Today, as Hurricane Dorian traveled north along Florida's East Coast, Governor Ron DeSantis remained in constant communication with emergency management officials and State, national and local weather experts. Governor DeSantis also thanked county, local and emergency management officials for successfully preparing Florida for Hurricane Dorian.
"With Hurricane Dorian moving past Florida, our state agencies and personnel are focusing on recovery and restoration efforts along the East Coast," said Governor DeSantis. "Florida is blessed to have some of the best emergency management officials and first responders in the nation and I could not be prouder to lead such a talented and selfless team of public servants. Over the past week, response teams from the county level to the Florida National Guard demonstrated incredible professionalism in the face of a Category 5 hurricane. In coordination with our local and federal partners, Florida stands ready to respond to any emergency as we move forward this hurricane season."
“While Florida was fortunate that Hurricane Dorian stayed off our coast, we are still in peak hurricane season and we must remain focused to make sure the state is prepared to respond to any storm,” said DEM Director Jared Moskowitz. “I urge every resident to be prepared and continue to take every storm seriously. As we begin to wind down efforts at the state level, I want to thank all of the staff, and every volunteer and first responder who heard the call and mobilized to help. As damage assessments are performed in the coming days, the State stands ready to assist with any support counties may need.”
This morning, Governor DeSantis received a full briefing from DEM Director Jared Moskowitz and State Meteorologist Amy Godsey. The Governor also met with United States Coast Guard Captain Ronald Catudal and participated in a call with former United States Ambassador to the Bahamas John Rood regarding ongoing and future recovery efforts in the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian.
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
• A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:
o North of Ponte Vedra Beach to the Savannah River
• A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:
o Volusia/Brevard County, FL line to the Savannah River
• A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:
o North of Port Canaveral, FL to the North Carolina/Virginia border
• Information regarding Watches and Warnings can be found at the following link: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT5+shtml/012123.shtml.
• The following counties have lifted their evacuation orders:
o Brevard County
o Flagler County
o Indian River County
o Martin County
o Palm Beach County
o St. Lucie County
o Hendry County
o Highlands County
o Okeechobee County
o Osceola County
o Volusia County
o Glades County
• The following counties remain under mandatory evacuation orders for coastal areas:
o Clay County
o Duval County
o Nassau County
o Putnam County
o St. Johns County
• For up to date information on evacuation orders, including exact locations and zones, please visit https://www.floridadisaster.org/evacuation-orders/.
• For up to date information on shelter operations, including locations please visit https://www.floridadisaster.org/shelter-status/ or https://floridadisaster.org/planprepare/disability/disability-shelters/
• Comcast opened its network of almost 200,000 Xfinity WiFi hotspots throughout Florida to anyone who needs them, including non-Xfinity customers, free of charge.
• Charter Communications, Inc. opened more than 32,000 Spectrum WiFi hotspots from Volusia County to Pinellas County – open to all users until further notice in Spectrum service areas across the state.
• The Department of Management Services (DMS) is coordinating with telecommunications providers to ensure coordinated recovery efforts to aid in the emergency response and recovery.
• Verizon is offering unlimited calling, texting and data for customers in the path of the hurricane. Verizon’s prepaid, postpaid and small-business customers in the path of the hurricane will have unlimited calling, data and texting from September 2 – September 9.
• AT&T announced it is waiving data overages in affected Florida areas from September 2 – September 8.
• The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) escorted fuel trucks to ensure fuel reaches critical areas more quickly. The State is working closely with the fuel industry to ensure there is an adequate fuel supply statewide.
• Through Executive Order 19-189, Governor DeSantis waived hours of service and truck weights for fuel trucks. Neighboring states, specifically Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia have waived requirements as well so that fuel can be moved more quickly and efficiently.
• Florida officials are working with ports along the East Coast of Florida to monitor resources and assist with closures and re-openings.
FOOD AND WATER
• The State has 819,000 gallons of water and 1.8 million meals ready for distribution.
• The State pre-deployed 860,000 bottles of water to preparing counties.
• The State has 730,000 pounds of ice ready for distribution.
• Following Governor DeSantis’ authorization, Florida Guardsmen have been activated to State Active Duty for Hurricane Dorian response operations.
• The Florida National Guard is currently supporting the following missions:
o Staffing and supporting the State Logistics Readiness Center (SLRC) in Orlando;
o Operating a Logistics Staging Area (LSA) in White Springs; and
o Providing liaison officers to 9 counties.
• The Florida National Guard is well-equipped, with assets including high-wheeled vehicles, helicopters, boats, generators and more.
• FHP continues to work with its local law enforcement and transportation partners to identify and assist with any local needs.
• FHP is providing Troopers for security at each of the Service Plazas on the Florida Turnpike to expedite service at the fuel pumps.
• FHP has 68 Quick Reaction Force (QRF) Troopers on standby for pre-deployment.
• FHP has activated 12-hour Alpha/Bravo shifts for approximately 1,400 Troopers in the Eastern portions of the state.
• FHP has deployed an aircraft to monitor traffic along I-95 on the Treasure Coast.
• To assist local officials with evacuations and traffic safety, FHP has 10 troopers assigned to assist in Nassau County and 14 troopers assigned to St. Johns County.
• Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobiles have been prepared and are ready to deploy and serve impacted customers immediately following the storm.
• FDLE’s mutual aid team is leading Florida’s law enforcement response, coordinating nearly 60 missions including traffic patrol and needs assessments.
• The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has more than 800 officers and resources prepared for potential deployment wherever they are needed. They have a variety of specialized equipment, including, aircraft, shallow draft boats, ATVs, airboats and four-wheel drive vehicles to assist with recovery.
• Southwest region Special Operations Group (SOG) is conducting Rapid RECON assessments today in Volusia and Flagler counties. This team is tasked with reconnaissance of critical infrastructure.
TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC WORKS
• Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise will resume toll collections on roads that had previously suspended tolls in preparation for Hurricane Dorian.
• The phase-in approach will allow motorists traveling from the north more time to reach destinations in the south.
• Effective at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, September 5, tolls on the following will be reinstated:
• Homestead Extension (SR 821)
• I-95 Express Lanes
• I-595 Express Lanes
• I-75 Express Lanes
• Alligator Alley
• Effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday, September 6, motorists should expect toll collection to resume for the following:
• The Turnpike Mainline (SR 91)
• Beachline Expressway (SR 528)
• Sawgrass Expressway (SR 869)
• SR 417 – Eastern Beltway around Orlando from I-4 in Osceola County to I-4 in Seminole County.
• SR 429 – The Daniel Webster Western Beltway from I-4 in Osceola County to US 441 in Apopka.
• The Central Florida Expressway Authority also will resume toll collection at 12:01 a.m. Friday on the following roads:
• SR 408
• SR 414
• SR 451
• SR 453
• SR 538
• SR 551
• On Saturday, September 7, tolls will resume collection for:
• First Coast Expressway (SR 23)
• I-295 Express Lanes
• Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise has reopened three service plazas that were previously closed for safety precautions. The West Palm Beach, Fort Drum and Fort Pierce service plazas are now open.
• Tri-Rail has resumed regular weekday service.
• FDOT is continuing to inspect and clear bridges along Florida’s coast. Draw bridges are back to normal operations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Other draw bridges along the State’s east on the storm’s path remains open to normal traffic.
• All FDOT bridges in Volusia, Brevard, and Flagler Counties have been inspected and cleared and open to traffic.
• FDOT will continue to assist local government with local bridge inspections as needed.
• FDOT is prepared to pre-position cut and toss debris crews to respond to potential storm damage.
• FDOT is coordinating with its utility partners to pre-position cut and toss debris clearing crews with utility crews, facilitating quicker utility restoration.
• FDOT damage assessment teams are performing inspections following the storm in southern coastal counties
• FDOT is working with state and local officials to assess the current situation and needs and holding teleconferences with the FDOT district offices.
• Florida’s 511 Traveler Information System is one of the most effective ways drivers can keep informed about the state’s roadways during severe weather.
• I-595 Express lanes has returned to normal operations.
• Currently traffic is flowing smoothly with no major issues.
• Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport is open to all flight operations.
• Palm Beach International Airport has suspended all commercial flights.
• Daytona Beach International Airport has suspended all commercial flights.
• Jacksonville International Airport is open to all flight operations.
• Melbourne International Airport has suspended all commercial flights.
• Orlando Sanford International Airport is open to all flight operations.
• Orlando International Airport is open to all flight operations.
• Airports on the west coast of Florida are open to all flight operations.
• The following Florida seaports are currently closed:
o Port Canaveral
o Port of Fernandina
o Port of Jacksonville
• DMS is actively monitoring local conditions to determine the closure status of state buildings. As local conditions change, DMS will make updates for state building closures at: (https://www.dms.myflorida.com/business_operations/real_estate_development_and_management/bureau_of_operations_and_maintenance/building_closure_information
PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICAL
• The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) activated the Emergency Status System (ESS) for health care facilities statewide to enter their storm preparedness status including generators and utility company information, emergency contacts, and bed availability.
• Information about nursing homes and assisted living facilities generator status can be found here: http://fl-generator.com/.
• Of the 3,059 licensed assisted living facilities (ALF) in Florida, 3,020 facilities have a generator on site. Five facilities have emergency plans to evacuate if needed. AHCA is conducting extensive outreach with these facilities to ensure generators are being acquired or there are appropriate plans to evacuate in place.
o AHCA has confirmed that every ALF and nursing home located in a coastal county along Florida’s East Coast from Palm Beach County north to Nassau County either has a generator on site or has plans to evacuate.
• AHCA is deploying staff to any facility in the coastal counties for which we do not have current updated information on their generator status.
• 684 nursing homes have a generator and must have the generator onsite as a result of the state of emergency, and 3 facilities have emergency plans to evacuate if needed.
• AHCA is participating in daily calls with the Florida Health Care Association and all residential and inpatient healthcare facilities, and the Florida Hospital Association and all hospitals.
• Nursing Home and Hospital Evacuations:
• 98 nursing homes and assisted living facilities along the east coast were evacuated.
• Some Florida hospitals have begun evacuating or are making plans to evacuate.
• Full Evacuation (9):
o Advent Health New Smyrna (Volusia County)
o Baptist Medical Center Nassau (Nassau County)
o Baptist Medical Center – Beaches (Duval County)
o Cape Canaveral (Brevard County)
o Cleveland Clinic South (Martin County)
o Good Samaritan Medical Center (Palm Beach County)
o Steward Sebastian River Medical Center (Indian River County)
o Halifax Psychiatric Center North (Volusia County)
o Port St. Lucie Hospital (St. Lucie County)
• The Department of Health (DOH) currently has two active boil water notices for Martin and St. Lucie counties. There are two webpages that will be updated in real-time as notices are issued or rescinded.
o Normal version: http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/drinking-water/boil-water-notices/index.html.
o Low-bandwidth version: http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/drinking-water/boil-water-notices/mobile.html.
• DOH is coordinating with fuel vendors, who are prepared to support all hospitals and assisted living facilities (ALF) in the potential areas of impact.
• 319 ambulances are staged throughout Florida ready to assist with health care facility evacuations.
• 11 counties have 23 open shelters for special needs citizens throughout the East Coast. 933 special needs clients are in those shelters. 337 caregivers are positioned at those shelters.
• No storm-related sewage spills have been reported to the State Watch Office.
• 17 counties have open shelters for special needs citizens throughout the East Coast. 1,856 special needs clients are in those shelters. 542 caregivers are positioned at those shelters.
• The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) is regularly communicating with employees, stakeholders, waiver support coordinators, and providers to ensure the health and safety of the customers the agency serves.
• APD’s Recovery Toolkit at www.apdcares.org provides the latest information about the hurricane, disaster preparations and resources before and after the storm.
• The APD state-run facilities located in Gainesville, Chattahoochee, and Marianna have secured homes, buildings, vehicles, and grounds in preparation for the approaching storm.
• The Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA) operates six skilled nursing facilities and one assisted living facility. All state veterans’ homes are currently operational.
• Working with our Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), the Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) remains vigilant in tracking the storm and are in constant contact with our local service providers, who currently have no unmet needs.
• DOEA provided shelf-stable meals to home-delivered meal clients throughout the state.
• DOEA remains in contact with contracted managed care organizations in South Florida regarding their emergency response efforts planned for after the storm. They have prepared and staged two tractor trailers, each with 4,700 boxes of emergency meals. One trailer will be staged in Tampa and the other in Miami with ground crews ready to deploy emergency meals to any impacted area with DOEA’s elderly or disabled clients following the storm.
• DOEA’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) will begin visiting long-term care facilities to check on residents and identify any unmet needs after the storm has passed.
• DOEA’s CARES Bureau will be working to assist with discharge planning at Special Needs Shelters. At this time, their assistance has been requested in Martin and St. Lucie Counties.
• The Department of Children and Families (DCF) activated the departments’ disaster-related information website:www.myflfamilies.com/disaster.
• DCF announced it has been approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
o SNAP customers who were scheduled to receive their benefits between September 1 and September 14 can now access those benefits using their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. This is an early release of regular benefits, not a distribution of additional funds.
• DCF is communicating with community-based-care lead agencies to ensure there are plans in place to begin making pre-landfall status checks on children in the department’s care.
• Continue to check the DCF website at: www.myflfamilies.com/disaster and social media accounts for the latest updates.
• DCF is holding daily calls with regional directors, program leads, and facility directors to ensure programs and facilities are prepared.
• DCF offices in the following counties are closed: Bradford, Brevard, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Lake, Martin, Nassau, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Putnam, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Seminole and Volusia counties.
• Florida state park closures can be found at www.floridastateparks.org/StormUpdates.
• State Office closure information, including DEP offices, can be found here.
• Visitors with existing camping and cabin reservations at impacted parks will be notified by ReserveAmerica of their reservation status. Cancellation fees have been waived for overnight accommodations.
• 1,039 Disaster Debris Management Sites have been pre-authorized and 88 have been authorized for the 67 counties addressed by the Governor’s Executive Order.
• An online tool for the public to report the location of storm debris has been deployed.
• DEP has issued an Emergency Final Order which authorizes repairs, replacement, restoration, and certain other measures due to impacts from Hurricane Dorian.
• DEP activated StormTracker which is an online reporting tool that tracks drinking water and wastewater facility status and needs as a result of storm impacts. Currently active in 32 counties and continually updated as the storm passes.
• Four Hazardous Area Response Teams (HARTs ) are on-call and ready to deploy.
• 16 strike teams have been identified for park cleanup deployment and are ready with equipment and staff.
• DEP submitted a federal resource request for coastal engineers.
• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers mobilized personnel to provide support to potential infrastructure challenges identified by FEMA and the state of Florida and stands ready to assist if needed.
• Lake Okeechobee is at 13.89 feet as of September 4, 2019.
• With no additional significant rainfall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake may rise one foot by late September.
• The South Florida Water Management District is evaluating opportunities to assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with managing lake levels and has begun moving lake water south.
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
• Uber offered rides to those needing transportation to shelters. Use code DORIANRELIEF in the app, request, and select any of the Florida evacuation shelters listed as your destination. Shelters can be found at www.floridadisaster.org/info.
• In response to Hurricane Dorian, Airbnb hosts across Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama are offering free places to stay to evacuees and/or relief workers (paid or volunteer) between August 31 and September 16 through the Open Homes program. Visit the following link to find temporary no-cost accommodations: https://www.airbnb.com/dorianmainland.
• The US Chamber of Commerce activated the Disaster Help Desk at 1-888-692-4943 for businesses who may have questions before and after a storm.
• The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) and Florida Retail Federation, and VISIT FLORIDA, in coordination with the Department of Economic Opportunity, have representatives in the State Emergency Operations Center providing information and coordination for lodging and resources to support first responders, utility workers and emergency management professionals responding to Hurricane Dorian.
• The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) continues to encourage businesses to visit www.FloridaDisaster.biz for disaster preparedness tips and register to receive updates as the storm progresses.
• Following the storm, DEO is encouraging businesses to complete the Business Damage Assessment Survey. To access the business survey, please click HERE and select “Hurricane Dorian” from the drop-down menu. Response to the damage assessment is not an application for assistance and information provided will be shared with various state and local agencies to execute appropriate relief programs. For additional assistance, businesses can call the private sector disaster recovery line at (850) 815-4925.
• DEO is extending the deadline for local governments to submit applications for the $85 million Rebuild Florida Infrastructure Repair Program.
• VISIT FLORIDA is constantly updating the emergency response website Florida Now. This includes encouraging Floridians with plans to return to Florida’s East Coast from Labor Day vacation to extend their time out of the area or to go to Northwest Florida, which is not in Hurricane Dorian’s forecast cone.
• Through VISIT FLORIDA’s partnership with Expedia, the Emergency Accommodations Module was activated at www.expedia.com/florida. This tool provides travelers with real-time information on accommodations availability throughout Florida and neighboring states.
• The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) offers a Hurricane Guide with information about hurricane preparedness, what to do as a storm approaches, disaster recovery, and helpful hurricane-related resources. DBPR shared the Guide on social media and it is available at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/documents/HurricaneGuide_web.pdf.
• The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) activated a consolidated hurricane information webpage for updates regarding the status of department operations and actions of the agency related to license processes, compliance deadlines, board meetings, and related matters of interest for regulated license holders – http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/Hurricane/.
• Secretary Beshears ordered the suspension and tolling of time requirements, notice requirements, and deadlines applicable to certain final orders, notices of intended agency action, and pending applications for permits, licenses, rates or other approvals. This suspension will continue through September 30, 2019, unless extended by subsequent order. Review DBPR Emergency Order 2019-01 for more information.
• DBPR’s Division of Drugs, Devices, and Cosmetics communicated with all licensed medical gas wholesalers to clarify the options afforded under the state of emergency that will enable the direct supply of oxygen from the wholesaler to points of need at emergency shelters. Division staff are prepared to assist with connecting emergency shelter operations with available supplies of oxygen as needed.
• DBPR suspended the existing occupational license renewal deadline of September 3 through September 30.
• Anheuser-Busch delovered over 100,000 cans of emergency drinking water to Florida.
• The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) will be posting up-to-date information regarding school closures at www.fldoe.org/hurricaneinfo.
• The following school districts have announced closures:
o Brevard County will reopen, September 6, 2019.
o Clay County will be closed through Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Duval County will be closed through Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o FAU Lab will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Flagler County will reopen Friday, September 6, 2019.
o Florida School for the Deaf and Blind is closed until further notice.
o Indian River County will be reopening Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Lake County will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Marion County will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Martin County will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Okeechobee County will be reopening Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Orange County will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Palm Beach County will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019. .
o Polk County will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Seminole County will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o St. Johns County will be closed through Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Union County will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Volusia County will reopen Friday, September 6, 2019.
• The following state colleges and universities have announced closures:
o College of Central Florida will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Daytona State College will reopen on Friday, September 6, 2019.
o Eastern Florida State College will reopen Monday, September 9, 2019.
o Florida State College at Jacksonville will reopen Friday, September 6, 2019.
o Indian River State College will be closed until further notice.
o Lake-Sumter State College will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Palm Beach State College will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Pasco-Hernando State College will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Polk State College will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o Seminole State College of Florida will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o South Florida State College will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o St. John’s River State College will be closed through Friday, September 6, 2019. Reopening Monday, September 9, 2019.
o Valencia College will reopen Friday, September 6, 2019.
o Florida Atlantic University will reopen Thursday, September 5, 2019.
o University of Central Florida will be closed through Thursday, September 5, 2019.
• For information on Division of Blind Services (DBS) and Division of Vocal Rehabilitation (DVR) closures, visit www.fldoe.org/hurricaneinfo.
• Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has been in communication with superintendents, and college presidents regarding Hurricane Dorian.
• Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) team members will be actively working throughout the storm and beyond with consumer advocates, industry stakeholders and entities licensed under OIR’s regulatory authority.
• In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order, OIR has notified all health insurers, managed care organizations and other health entities of their statutory obligation to allow for early prescription refills during a state of emergency here.
• Governor DeSantis activated the Florida Disaster Fund, Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster. Individuals who are interested in supporting may visit www.volunteerflorida.org or text DISASTER to 20222 to make a $10 contribution.
• Volunteer Florida is coordinating with state and local emergency management officials and partners to preposition resources.
• The Salvation Army is feeding at evacuation shelters in Brevard County and Lake County where existing commitments were in place.
• The Salvation Army has 30 mobile feeding units on standby. Each mobile kitchen is prepared to serve 500-1,500 meals per day.
• Florida Baptist Disaster Relief is on standby for muck and gut missions, as well as standing by with their two feeding kitchens, if needed.
• The American Red Cross is aligning with county managers to transition and consolidate shelters.
• Individuals who are interested in volunteering after the storm are encouraged to visit www.volunteerflorida.org where they may register to become a volunteer and search for volunteer opportunities. Volunteers should affiliate with an organization before deploying. Volunteers should not self-deploy.
• Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) Secretary Mark Inch, and his leadership team, are in close contact with the statewide EOC, and state and local law enforcement.
• Evacuation determinations were made in the best interest of the public, staff and inmate safety. Two main correctional institutions and multiple satellite facilities, community work release centers and work camps were evacuated in an abundance of caution. Approximately, 4,407 inmates were evacuated.
• FDC took proactive steps to ensure institutions were prepared for the storm and ensure inmate safety was not compromised.
• If an inmate was relocated, their new location can be found on by utilizing the offender search at: http://www.dc.state.fl.us/OffenderSearch/Search.aspx.
• For the latest on court closures, visit the Emergency Information page of the Florida Supreme Court’s website: www.floridasupremecourt.org/Emergency.
STATE EMERGENCY OPERATION CENTER / CONTACTS
• The State Emergency Operations Center has activated to a Level 1.
• The State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) contact number: 1-800-342-3557.
• The State Emergency Operations Center Media Line: 850-921-0217.
• Follow @FLSERT and @GovRonDeSantis on Twitter for live updates on Hurricane Dorian.
• Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org/info to find information on emergency preparedness, shelters, road closures and evacuation routes.