FREEPORT, Bahamas—Slow-moving Hurricane Dorian, the strongest storm ever to hit the Bahamas, pummeled the islands with wind and water Monday, shredded roofs, hurled cars and forced even rescue crews to take shelter, CNN reported. Five people are confirmed dead.
Moving at only one mile an hour over the island, Dorian pounded the same decimated places continuously, shutting down power to Nassau and the rest of New Providence, the country’s most populated island. As of 8:30 a.m. ET today, the storm, with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph, was approximately 100 miles from Palm Beach, Florida. Dorian no longer is expected to make landfall in Florida, but coastal residents will still feel its impact.
The storm is forecast to head slowly north later today, pass near the Georgia and South Carolina coasts Wednesday and then roll “near or over” the North Carolina coast late Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The Red Cross estimated that as many as 13,000 houses may have been destroyed in the Bahamas, and officials reported hundreds of phone calls from people in flooded homes and buildings. Local police urged citizens to remain calm and share their GPS coordinates but added that rescue crews were stymied by weather conditions.
States of emergency are in effect in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
In Florida, mandatory evacuation orders were issued for parts of Palm Beach, Martin, St. Johns, Brevard, St. Lucie and Volusia counties. The state said 38 general shelters were open, along with 11 special needs shelters. Tolls were suspended on major highways to make evacuation easier, and officials warned residents to travel west and inland rather than north, given Dorian’s projected path up the coast.
To help Florida residents who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the state will issue September SNAP benefits early for participants who would normally receive benefits between Sept. 1 and 14.
In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp issued mandatory evacuation orders for residents east of I-95 in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh counties. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered a mandatory evacuation for low-lying zones of eight coastal counties: Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry and Jasper.
As reported in NACS Daily last week, residents and first responders rely on convenience stores and gas stations to be open so they can buy much-needed supplies of fuel, food and water and have access to cash machines. NACS developed its “Stay Open in an Emergency" video and other resources to help convenience retailers develop and execute disaster planning procedures. The NACS Convenience Store Emergency Planning and Job Aid resources assist c-stores as they plan, prepare and recover from a disaster.
On Aug. 30, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a new emergency waiver of the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirements and Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) commingling prohibitions for Florida. The waiver is effective immediately and continues until Sept. 15. Fuel Waiver Concerning Florida.
Also on Saturday, the EPA issued a new emergency waiver to allow the use of red dyed 15 parts per million sulfur non-road locomotive and marine diesel fuel in diesel-powered highway vehicles in Florida. Fuel Waiver concerning red dyed 15 parts.
Hours of service waivers are in effect in Florida and Georgia due to Hurricane Dorian.
In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a Regional Emergency Declaration and an exemption from Parts 390 to 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, including an HOS waiver for transportation of fuel for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The order will remain in effect for the duration of the emergency or until September 28. The agency also issued a Notice of Enforcement Discretion - Emergency Declaration indicating it won’t enforce certain operating registration fees during the emergency.