Broward County is set to declare a state of emergency Friday afternoon as Hurricane Dorian moves closer to South Florida, according to an official press release.
The county's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated Friday morning as Gov. Ron DeSantis declared Florida under emergency status.
After gaining strength overnight, Hurricane Dorian by Friday was expected to become a Category 4 hurricane by the time it hits Florida's east coast. National Weather Service experts now say Dorian is likely to make landfall well into the Labor Day weekend, possibly in Palm Beach County, with winds of up to 140 mph.
DeSantis told reporters local officials will decide Friday whether to issue voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders. The governor said 2,000 Florida National Guard troops have been activated to help with storm preparations, and another 4,000 will be called in by Saturday.
By late Friday morning, Dorian was east of the Bahamas, on the northwest side, and roughly 660 miles east of West Palm Beach, with winds in the 110-mph range.
Port Everglades and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport remain open, but passengers should contact their airline/cruise line for information regarding possible delays or cancellations due to Hurricane Dorian.
Broward mayor Mark Bogen said in a statement the EOC, hospitals and health care providers are working together on preparations in case of medical need. He said residents with special needs who require transportation to a shelter, if and when they open, are being assisted.
The county's 311 Emergency Hotline will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The hotline is a source of up-to-date information and rumor control for residents. Call 311 or 954-831-4000.
Broward schools closed early Friday, as did the four locations that make up the 17th Judicial Circuit Court in Broward County. All are expected to open again Tuesday, after Labor Day.
City officials throughout Broward were also making storm preparations Friday. Coral Springs partially activated its emergency operations and fully opened its Hurricane Call Center (954-344-1001), according to CoralSpringsTalk.com. City parks and park facilities will remain open through Saturday, but will close Sunday until further notice. The county shelter in Coral Springs, located in Coral Glades High School, has not yet been activated.
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