Monroe out of “The Cone”

Hurricane Dorian shifts north, no longer immediate threat to the Keys

9 a.m. ET: John Rizzo from NOAA reported: “The forecast track of Category 4 Hurricane Dorian has shifted right, which means northeast … this reduces the threat for Monroe County.

It is likely that, in the Keys, we will have some brief squalls of 40-50 mph winds.

This shift of the storm track weakens the west winds across Florida Bay, which means NOAA doesn’t expect the water levels to rise at the rate originally expected. There will be swells of 2 to 2.5 feet of mean sea level.

“We are having a king tide,” said Rizzo, “so know that the water will be 6-12 inches higher, especially in Upper Keys neighborhoods on the Bayside, but it will be more of a street flooding event. That flooding likelihood will peak on Tuesday.”

While the threat of the tropical storm conditions have lessened here, there will be storm watches up the East Coast, which means the Hurricane Center will issue detailed storm watches and warnings as it progresses.

There are no watches or warnings in effect for the Keys.

Rizzo said they expect Dorian to complete its turn today and to slow to a crawl as it reaches north of the Bahamas. There is even a possibility that the storm will continue to turn and run offshore along the East Coast.

“Remember that impacts are still possible,” Rizzo said, “but with the storm turning right that will lessen significantly.” The chance for sustained 50 knot winds is less than 10% in Key West and less than 23% in Ocean Reef.

Earliest reasonable arrival time for tropical storm force winds would be during the predawn hours Monday morning. As it turns, it could eliminate the possibility of tropical storm force winds even in the Upper Keys.

Rizzo said: “It’s too soon to say there is no impact completely … but it’s slowed ‘to a snail’s pace,’ and this turn is a good turn, to the right and away from our area.”

Monroe County schools will still be closed Tuesday but will be reopen on Wednesday. The county offices and facilities will be open Tuesday. County Administrator Roman Gastesi said that since it is an “extraordinary situation,” county employees can bring their kids to work with supervisor approval.

From an Emergency Management perspective, there will still be monitoring and updates, but the county is considering it a de-escalation and wishing staff and residents to enjoy the holiday weekend.

“We need to keep our eyes on our neighbors to the north; they are not out of the woods yet,” said Marty Senterfitt, Director of Monroe County Emergency Management. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bahamas, with a storm with 140 mph winds parked over them.”

 

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