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“Sunburn — The morning read of what's hot in Florida politics — 1.22.20 - Florida Politics” plus 1 more

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“Sunburn — The morning read of what's hot in Florida politics — 1.22.20 - Florida Politics” plus 1 moreSunburn — The morning read of what's hot in Florida politics — 1.22.20 - Florida PoliticsPosted: 22 Jan 2020 01:09 AM PSTLast week Floridians were almost evenly split on whether the U.S. Senate should convict PresidentDonald Trumpand boot him from office. And his 2020 chances seemed even grimmer.Today, a new poll from the Florida Chamber of Commerce shows some rays of sunshine for POTUS.Donald Trump gets a ray of sunshine in Florida. The Chamber found Trump would snag Florida's 29 electoral votes no matter which of the top Democrats gunning for his job appeared on the November ballot — he'd beat U.S. Sen.Elizabeth Warrenor South Bend MayorPete Buttigiegby 7%, former NYC MayorMike Bloombergby 5%, and former VPJoe Bidenby 4%.Another positive trend is waning support for his ouster. More than half those polled opposed conviction while 43% approved.Republicans are…

“WATCH LIVE UPDATES: Track, computer models, satellite for Hurricane Dorian - WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando” plus 1 more

“WATCH LIVE UPDATES: Track, computer models, satellite for Hurricane Dorian - WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando” plus 1 more


WATCH LIVE UPDATES: Track, computer models, satellite for Hurricane Dorian - WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando

Posted: 29 Aug 2019 12:00 AM PDT

Dorian expected to hit Florida as Category 4 hurricane

ORLANDO, Fla. – Get the latest updates on Dorian, which is projected to hit Florida at a Category 4 hurricane.

  • Projected path of Hurricane Dorian creeps south
  • Storm expected to become major hurricane
  • Florida, Georgia declare state of emergency
  • President Trump cancels trip to Poland saying to deal with storm

11:15 p.m.

Hurricane Dorian is now a Category 2 hurricane and is expected to continue strengthening over the weekend as it advances toward Florida.

The National Hurricane Center says in an 11 p.m. Thursday forecast that the storm has maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (169 kph), meaning it is just short of being a Category 3 major storm.

Forecasters expect Dorian to become a major hurricane Friday and make landfall on Florida's east coast on Monday night.

As of Thursday night, Dorian was about 295 miles (475 kilometers) east-northeast of the southeastern Bahamas.

11 p.m.

Dorian was upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane packing 105 mph winds and was located about 580 miles east of the Northwestern Bahamas moving northwest at 12 mph. There are no watches of warnings in effect in the Bahamas or anywhere else yet.

8:26 p.m.

President Donald Trump said the winds of Hurricane Dorian are building at a tremendous rate.

"We have the best people in the world ready," Trump said.

President Trump posted a 90-second message on Twitter Thursday night.

"Be aware and be safe," Trump said. 

6:50 p.m.

Florida's largest power company says it has secured about 13,000 employees and additional personnel to work to restore powerlines and equipment damaged by Hurricane Dorian.

Florida Power and Light also said Thursday that it is working with utilities nationwide to send additional crews and equipment ahead of the landfall.

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 FPL President and CEO Eric Silagy says they're taking Hurricane Dorian seriously and have activated an emergency response plan in anticipation of its impact.

FPL serves about 10 million people in the state of Florida and operates more than 48,000 miles (77,000 kilometers) of overhead power lines.

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5:50 p.m.

Georgia's governor is declaring a state of emergency ahead of Hurricane Dorian for 12 counties nearest the state's coastline.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order Thursday that frees up state resources for emergency preparations and response. It also prohibits price gouging for goods and services such as gasoline.

The National Hurricane Center predicts Dorian will come ashore during the Labor Day weekend as a powerful Category 4 hurricane. While the current forecast track predicts landfall in Florida, forecasters haven't ruled out a turn toward southeast Georgia.

Kemp's emergency declaration covers all 100 miles (160-kilometer) of the Georgia coast, an area that includes Savannah, as well as several neighboring counties to the west.

5:35 p.m.

The tail end of Hurricane Dorian is unleashing heavy flooding along the eastern and southern coasts of Puerto Rico.

Cars, homes and gravestones in the southeast coastal town of Humacao became halfway submerged in water after officials say a river burst its banks amid heavy rains late Wednesday afternoon.

Flooding also has forced the closure of several roads in the southeast region.

The National Weather Service in San Juan has issued a flash flood warning for the area as well as for the nearby islands of Vieques and Culebra.

The heavy rains are expected to help ease a severe drought affecting the U.S. territory's south coast.

5:35 p.m.

Florida resident James Wolfe won't be scrambling to get supplies before Hurricane Dorian hits.

Wolfe says he and his wife put up the hurricane shutters on their Vero Beach home Thursday afternoon.

The 72-year-old retired jeweler says he already has everything that he, his wife and their dog could possibly need: Cases of water, food, an electric generator and even some charcoal in the case he decides to grill. He plans on staying home throughout the storm.

Meanwhile, 51-year-old Lauren Harvey scoured the aisles of a nearby supermarket in search for non-perishable food items that could last her throughout the possible storm.

Harvey recently moved to Vero Beach from the Philadelphia-area. She says she is not sure what to expect and is preparing to spend her very first hurricane alone.

5:20 p.m.

The projected path of Hurricane Dorian is creeping south as it approaches the eastern coast of Florida.

The National Hurricane Center says in a 5 p.m. Thursday forecast that Dorian's path remains essentially unchanged through the next two or three days, but meteorologists are now seeing the highest probabilities for hurricane force winds in Fort Pierce and West Palm Beach.

Fort Pierce has a 93% chance of tropical storm force winds by Tuesday afternoon and 48% chance of hurricane force. West Palm Beach has a 92% chance of tropical storm force winds and 42% for hurricane force winds by Tuesday afternoon.

Cocoa Beach has a 37% chance of experiencing hurricane force winds, and Fort Lauderdale has a 30% chance.

As of Thursday evening the Category 1 storm was about 330 miles (530 kilometers) east of the southeastern Bahamas with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (137 kph).

5:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump has canceled his trip to Poland as Hurricane Dorian barrels toward Florida.

Trump says it's "very important" for him to be in Washington to deal with the storm, adding, "Our highest priority is the safety and security of the American people in the path of the hurricane."

Trump had been scheduled to depart for Warsaw Saturday for a visit to commemorate the 80th anniversary of World War II. He says he'll be sending Vice President Mike Pence in his place.

He says he delivered the news to Polish President Andrzej Duda earlier Thursday and plans to reschedule the trip in the "near future."

He had already canceled the second stop of the trip Denmark after leaders there mocked his desire to purchase Greenland.
 

1:30 p.m.

The Rolling Stones are again rescheduling a concert; this time because Hurricane Dorian is approaching the Florida coast.

Publicist Amal Mokhtar says that due to the weather forecast, a concert scheduled for Saturday in Miami Gardens will instead happen Friday night. All tickets will be honored for the new concert date but there will be no opening act.

The concert was originally scheduled for April but had to be rescheduled because of lead singer Mick Jagger's health issues.

It's also the second time this year that tropical weather has prompted the Rolling Stones to reschedule a concert in the Southeast. Last month, the band pushed a New Orleans concert back by a day as Tropical Storm Barry approached the area.

1 p.m.

As Hurricane Dorian threatened Puerto Rico this week, Jose Santiago reached out to his adult daughters on the island, worried about how they'd weather the storm. But now they've dodged a direct hit, and his daughters are more worried about him.

Santiago moved to Orlando after Hurricane Maria ravaged the U.S. territory in 2017, part of an exodus of Puerto Ricans to the U.S. mainland. Florida now has more than 1.1 million Puerto Ricans, more than New York.

Living through Maria taught Santiago the importance of preparedness. He's bought a generator, canned food and water. And he's telling his daughters he'll be just fine.

Forecasts so far suggest Hurricane Dorian will be less powerful than Maria was. It's expected to make landfall on Monday anywhere from Key West to Georgia.

12:45 p.m.

The threat Hurricane Dorian is posing for Florida's Space Coast has persuaded NASA to move its mobile launcher indoors.

Officials at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral decided to move the mobile launch platform for a new mega rocket under development into the Vehicle Assembly Building on Friday. They're also closing the visitor center on Sunday and Monday.

Forecasters said Dorian is expected to bulk up into a dangerous Category 3 hurricane and perhaps even reach a Category 4, with top sustained winds of 130 mph (209 kph) or more as it approaches the Florida coast.

Landfall is expected sometime Monday, but it's still highly uncertain just where the eye of the hurricane will strike. Models point to anywhere between the Florida Keys and southern Georgia, a 500-mile stretch reflecting a high degree of uncertainty.

Noon

Publix is Florida's largest grocery store chain and says it's gearing up for a rush of customers hoping to stock up on food, water and other supplies as Hurricane Dorian approaches.

Publix spokeswoman Nicole Krauss says preparations were well under way before Dorian. She says distribution centers are currently well stocked with bottled water and other necessities.

Krauss said many of the chain's stores have been equipped with emergency generators and a fleet of generators remains on standby for stores that could lose power during the storm.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Dorian could hit the Florida coast over the weekend as a major hurricane.

Florida Gov. DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for counties that could be in the storm's path and urged people to have a week's worth of supplies on hand.

11 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian remains on a projected path to Florida, although the latest track released by the National Hurricane Center shows the storm hitting the Sunshine State a little south of Brevard County as a Category 4 storm with winds of 130 mph.

Dorian is expected to maintain Category 1 hurricane status as it treks near the Orlando area.

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10:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump says Florida is "going to be totally ready" for Hurricane Dorian as it barrels toward the U.S. Southeast coast.

Trump says in an appearance on Brian Kilmeade's Fox News radio show that he spoke with Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday night and that, "He's all set."

He says: "We were ready in Puerto Rico and we're ready also in Florida."

Dorian is expected to grow into a potentially major Category 3 hurricane before it hits the U.S. mainland late Sunday or early Monday somewhere between the Florida Keys and southern Georgia.

Gov. DeSantis has declared a state of emergency for counties that could be in the storm's path and urged people to have a week's worth of supplies on hand.

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9:40 a.m.

Across much of Florida's east coast, residents are flocking to the grocery stores and gas stations, stocking up in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian, which threatens to hit over the Labor Day weekend.

There were lines at many gas stations in South Florida as people began filling gas cans and topping off their gas tanks.

Some residents using community Facebook groups provided updates on new shipments of water to restock the nearly empty shelves at local grocery stores.

On Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for the state and advised residents along the entire East Coast to monitor Dorian closely. He said every Floridian should have "seven days of supplies, including food, water and medicine" on hand.

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9:30 a.m.

Hurricane Dorian is posing an increasing menace to Florida as it pushes over open waters after doing limited damage in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Dorian is expected to grow into a potentially devastating Category 3 hurricane before hitting the U.S. mainland late Sunday or early Monday somewhere between the Florida Keys and southern Georgia.

President Donald Trump tweeted a warning about the storm, adding that "it will be a very big Hurricane, perhaps one of the biggest!"

The Hurricane Center projects the storm could have winds of 125 mph (200 kph) by the time it reaches the mainland. Also imperiled are the Bahamas, with Dorian's forecast track running just to the north of Great Abaco and Grand Bahama islands.

8 a.m.

No watches or warnings are currently in effect, so weather officials did not issue an 8 a.m. intermediate public advisory on Hurricane Dorian.

A NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft is en route to survey Dorian and a tropical cyclone update will be issued if significant changes are found, according to the National Hurricane Center.

5 a.m. 

Hurricane Dorian remains on a projected path toward Central Florida, where it could slam the coast with sustained winds of 125 mph.

As of early Thursday, Dorian was a Category 1 hurricane packing 85 mph winds and was located about 150 miles north-northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Dorian is moving northwest at 13 mph.

11:30 p.m. Wednesday

Hurricane Dorian is moving over open waters after doing limited damage in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, though forecasters warn it is gaining strength and probably will grow into a dangerous storm while heading toward Florida's east coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said late Wednesday Dorian is expected to strengthen into a dangerous Category 3 hurricane as it stays well to the east of the southeastern and central Bahamas over the next two days. The forecast calls for the storm to pass near or over the northern Bahamas on Saturday and close in on Florida by Sunday afternoon.

The storm was a Category 1 hurricane Wednesday when it swirled through the islands of the northeastern Caribbean, causing power outages and flooding in places no major damage.

10 p.m. 

President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency and ordered federal assistance for the U.S. Virgin Islands as Hurricane Dorian moves away from the islands.

Reports of flooding and power outages were reported across the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands and the Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra after Dorian hit St. Thomas as a Category 1 storm.

The hurricane is now setting its sights on the U.S. mainland as it threatens to grow into a dangerous Category 3 storm.


Floridas largest water agency has no governing board, and soon, no director - Palm Beach Post

Posted: 14 Feb 2019 12:00 AM PST

Leadership at the state's largest water management agency further unraveled Thursday with the unexpected resignation of executive director Ernie Marks who worked for more than a decade on Everglades restoration projects in multiple state posts.

Marks' last day at the South Florida Water Management District will be March 5. He became executive director in August 2017 following a unanimous governing board vote.

The abrupt announcement came near the end of an unusual governing board meeting where there was no quorum, men teared up, accusations flew from the dais against elected officials and beleaguered decision-makers more accustomed to criticism received standing ovations.

It was the final meeting for the remaining four of nine governing board members appointed by former Gov. Rick Scott who were asked to resign last month by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Board Chairman Federico Fernandez and member Brandon Tucker agreed Jan. 30 to resign after Thursday's meeting. Board member Jim Moran and Sam Accursio have terms that expire in March.

"It's been the complete privilege of my life at this point to serve the 20 months that I have had the opportunity to serve on this board," said Tucker in an emotional goodbye from the dais. "God bless each and every one of you. Mr. Marks, I look forward to seeing you somewhere down the road buddy, and, I'm out."

The board is in charge of flood control, water quality and Everglades restoration in 16 counties from Orlando to the Keys — a daunting challenge that in recent years has included devastating bouts of toxic blue-green algae in the northern estuaries, red tide in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic coastline and sea grass die-offs in Florida Bay.

Members have been censured for favoring agricultural interests over coastal concerns but bristled Thursday at those accusations.

RELATED: Social media wars: Ex-water board member retaliates over threats

"There have clearly been a lot of frustrations shared by a wide number of parties," Fernandez said.

Five board members resigned previous to Thursday's meeting after running afoul of DeSantis and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, for a November decision to allow farming to continue for at least two more years on 16,000 acres of land slated for a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

Mast, who served as chairman of DeSantis' environmental transition team, had asked the board to delay the vote after the lease wasn't made public until 9 p.m. the night before the meeting. The board refused.

Tucker said during Thursday's meeting the "coups d'etat" of the board was planned well before the November meeting by Mast. Tucker, who said he voted for Mast twice, went on Thursday to relate an August meeting with Mast where it was made clear the board would be asked to step down.

RELATED: Water managers defend lease to sugar-grower Florida Crystals

"It would be naïve to say that me and some of the members of the water management district board didn't see eye to eye and that last meeting in November was the straw that broke the camel's back," Mast said Thursday. "It's not a secret that Ernie Marks and I didn't see eye to eye either."

Mast has proposed keeping Lake Okeechobee at lower levels so that harmful discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries can be reduced, but Marks has said a lower lake can lead to unintended consequences. Those include extreme water restrictions, saltwater intrusion and a lack of water for the Seminole Tribe of Florida during drought.

Kimberly Mitchell, executive director of the Everglades Trust, said Thursday the issues are not a matter of farmers versus environmentalists.

"Nobody wants to do away with agriculture," she said. "The last thing I would want to see is an extreme to the other side. It's about balance."

Marks, 43, replaced Pete Antonacci as executive director of the nearly 1,500-employee, $800 million agency when Antonacci left to lead Enterprise Florida.

RELATED: Once U.S. Sugar wanted to sell all of its land to the state; now it kills deal's last remnant

Marks served as the district's director of Everglades policy and coordination before that, with earlier jobs as the South Florida Regional Director for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and as a regulator manager for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

"My time has passed," Marks said in his brief announcement before stepping out of the room temporarily.

It will now be up to DeSantis and his new board of appointees to hire an executive director in charge of billions of dollars in restoration projects, including the $1.4 billion reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. DeSantis has so far named two members — Chauncey Goss, a city councilman for Sanibel Island, and former Florida Fish and Wildlife Commissioner "Alligator Ron" Bergeron.

Neither Bergeron, who is still undergoing an ethics review for business ties, nor Goss was at Thursday's meeting. Goss, whose framed portrait is already on the wall at district headquarters and his biography posted on its website, said he was briefed on the agenda but didn't have his paperwork cleared by the governor's office in time to be sworn in as a board member.

BOOKMARK The Palm Beach Post's new and improved weather page with environmental and climate news

Goss' absence meant there was no quorum to vote on the final piece of a 170,000 acre-feet reservoir in Hendry County to reduce discharges into the Caloosahatchee River. Fernandez said in his resignation letter he wanted to stay on the board through Thursday so he could vote on the $523.8 million project.

"My hopes are going forward that the distraction can be put aside and we can prove to be the solution," Federico said about the board and people who live in the 16 counties it represents. "I see a very bright future for South Florida."

The next governing board meeting is March 14.

Kmiller@pbpost.com

@KmillerWeather

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