Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Bracing for Frances

Southeast Florida is moving into full hurricane preparation mode as Frances tromps through the Turks and Caicos and heads for the Bahamas and the Florida coast. Based on the five-day tracking forecast, it’s looking like the center of the hurricane could make landfall in the Fort Pierce area, which is about 100 miles north of Miami. That does not take Miami-Dade out of the danger zone, however – the predictions can be sketchy, and the outer bands of a hurricane can hit as far away as 100 miles from the center.

Broward County (Fort Lauderdale) is already taking precautions.

  • Broward County officials announced this afternoon that all schools in the county will be closed tomorrow and Friday in preparation for their possible use as shelters.
  • At 5 a.m. Thursday, all government offices will be closed, including parks and recreation offices and facilities and libraries.
  • Regular mass transit service will cease at 5 a.m. Thursday as well.
  • All government offices and facilities and all schools in Brevard and Volusia counties will also be closed Thursday and Friday.
  • Miami-Dade County hasn’t made any official announcements as of this moment, but the Emergency Operations Center was fully activated at 2 p.m. this afternoon. So far, no school closings have been announced in Miami-Dade.

    Update: 7:18 p.m. Miami-Dade County Public Schools will be closed for students, but employees are to report for work. So I go to work tomorrow. That means that Miami-Dade County government thinks that we’re not going to get hit too hard, but they probably want to have the schools ready to serve as shelters if necessary.

    Two houses across the street have put up their hurricane shutters. One is a house on the rental market, the other is owned by an elderly person who probably couldn’t manage to put them up by by himself. The radio and TV stations are running All Frances All The Time, and seeing as how the last encounter with a hurricane was Andrew – $15 billion worth of damage the most expensive natural disaster in modern history – I can’t say I blame them.