Saturday, August 31; 12:00pm
Southwest Florida is out of the forecast cone for Hurricane Dorian for the first time in days as the forecasted track moved further east of the state, though weather experts continue to warn Floridians to be watchful and prepared. As a relatively small hurricane and one that is moving very slowly, Dorian has been hard to predict.
Dorian remains a Category 4 storm with winds of 150mph with gusts of 184mph as of the 11am forecast update from the National Hurricane Center. It was moving west at just 7mph with the northern Bahamas expected to be in its path. A northerly turn is expected prior to reaching the east coast of Florida in most forecast models.
*Town of Fort Myers Beach
As of Saturday morning, the Town still planned to hold an Emergency Town Council Meeting on Sunday, September 1 at 10am for the purpose of declaring a Local State Of Emergency to allow the Town to respond to Hurricane Dorian. This declaration is part of their emergency protocol and keeps the town in sync with other Lee County governments. Otherwise, Town Hall is closed for the Labor Day weekend.
*UPDATE: The Emergency Town Council meeting scheduled for Sunday, September 1st has been cancelled.
reFRESH Estero Blvd/Waterlines
Crews for both the Estero Blvd and Waterlines projects have secured the work zones, removing unnecessary items and debris. Only a third of the construction barrels used to delineate the construction zone remain in place over the Labor Day weekend. Those have been secured with extra weight. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution when in the construction zone.
The Lee County Emergency Operations Center remains partially activated involving only key agencies for monitoring and planning on Saturday. A seven-day Local State of Emergency, declared Friday, remains in effect. No shelters are open. There are no evacuation orders.
Lee County Solid Waste asks residents to not put any yard waste at the curb this weekend. There is no trash pick-up on Monday due to the holiday, with all collections pushed back one day under the regular holiday collection schedule. On Friday, Solid Waste announced that trash pick-up on Tuesday would be suspended. On Saturday, they said that residents should watch for updates on when trash, yard and recycling collections will resume. Updates can be found under “Breaking News” at www.LeeEOC.com
Lee County Schools will announce by noon Monday if school will be cancelled Tuesday.
The United Way 211 hotline is active. The hotline is a free, non-emergency helpline for referral to health and social services that provide food, housing, child care, veterans services and more in the community.
State of Florida
The entire state remains under a State of Emergency declared by Governor Ron DeSantis.
Federal & Others
President Donald Trump signed an Emergency Declaration for Florida on Friday, releasing federal emergency aid to the state to supplement state, tribal and local response efforts.
The U.S. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, which includes Fort Myers Beach, urged boaters and beachgoers to avoid potentially hazardous conditions on the water this weekend. USCG search and rescue capabilities will be limited Labor Day weekend as crews prepare for Hurricane Dorian by relocating assets for storm avoidance to ensure they are ready to respond immediately after the hurricane.
Comcast’s wireless hotspot network in Florida is open for anyone to use for free. To find a public Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspot, visit: Xfinity.com/wifi
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District has completed pre-storm inspections of the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee. The Saturday lake level is at 13.71. On Friday, the Corps said that it expected the lake to receive about 3 feet of water over the next 30 days from Hurricane Dorian, with high-flow releases expected. They have not released any updated estimates since the forecast cone has shifted east over the Atlantic. The Corps has extended the deadline for comment on proposed deviations from the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule 2008 that is currently open for public comment, through Sept. 20. See bit.ly/CorpsLORS for more information.
By Missy Layfield