5 dead as Hurricane Dorian slams into the Bahamas

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6:29 p.m. ET, September 1, 2019

Martin County sheriff: "We are within 20 miles of an apocalyptic hurricane"

Martin County has 784 people staying in its four shelters, according to Sheriff William Snyder. As part of the county's preparations for Hurricane Dorian, 20 additional sheriff's deputies have been dispatched to help with the mandatory evacuation order.

“We are within 20 miles of an apocalyptic hurricane coming ashore on the Treasure Coast," Snyder said. "If it does what the models are predicting, we will be okay. If you're being told to evacuate and you don’t evacuate, you're taking the chance of a life time."

Martin County Director of Emergency Management Michelle Jones said Uber is offering free roundtrip rides to shelters for up to $20.

Comcast is opening free WiFi to everyone in the state of Florida. Verizon is providing unlimited calling, data, and texting for customers. AT&T is waiving data overage charges for affected Florida residents.  

6:26 p.m. ET, September 1, 2019

American Airlines adds 8 airports to travel alert

American Airlines has added eight airports in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina to its travel alert, which includes capped fares and waived baggage fees.

Airport operations have also been suspended at two airports in the Bahamas and three airports in Florida, American Airlines said in a news release. The travel alert currently includes 20 airports. If a customer chooses not to fly to/from an airport covered by the current waiver, American Airlines will waive change fees for future travel.

The new airports added to the alert are:

  • Charleston, South Carolina (CHS)
  • Greenville, North Carolina (PGV)
  • Hilton Head, South Carolina (HHH)
  • Jacksonville, North Carolina (OAJ)
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (MYR)
  • New Bern, North Carolina (EWN)
  • Savannah, Georgia (SAV)
  • Wilmington, North Carolina (ILM)

The current travel alert allows customers to rebook without change fees. Customers can reschedule their travel on aa.com by retrieving their reservation, or by contacting American reservations at 800-433-7300 in the US or Canada.

FARES

While there are limited seats remaining before the storm hits, American Airlines has capped fares at a maximum of $499 each way for main cabin seats, and $699 for premium cabins, on direct, single leg flights from all cities covered under the travel alert in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

These fares will apply for flights out of locations in Florida through September 4 and the eight Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina locations through September 6.

BAGS AND PETS

American is waiving fees for two checked bags and in-cabin pets for flights to/from all cities covered under the travel alert in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

For cities covered under the travel alert, these fees are waived through September 4 for flights out of Florida locations and September 6 out of the eight Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina locations.

In order to accommodate as many bags as possible on aircraft, American Airlines will accept up to two free checked bags per traveler.

REFUNDS

If an American flight has been canceled or excessively delayed, customers may cancel their itinerary and request a refund by visiting its website. Customers who booked through a travel agent should contact their agency directly.

6:07 p.m. ET, September 1, 2019

Broward County schools will close Tuesday

Schools in Broward County, Florida will be closed on Tuesday, Mayor Mark Bogen said Sunday.

The county remains under a tropical storm watch. Officials are also asking residents to conserve fuel at this time.

Here are more updates the mayor gave the community at a press conference this afternoon:

  • The court house will be closed on Tuesday.
  • No bus service for Monday; to be determined if they will be back on Tuesday. 
  • Government buildings, including libraries and parks, will be closed on Tuesday. 
  • As of 2 p.m. ET today, the county has four special needs shelters open.

6:57 p.m. ET, September 1, 2019

Jacksonville to order mandatory evacuations starting Monday

A local state of emergency will go into effect at midnight in the city of Jacksonville.

Mandatory evacuations for zones A and B in the city will take effect at 8 a.m. Monday.

All city and government offices and Duval County schools will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Neptune, Jacksonville and Atlantic Beach will be closed starting tonight. St. Johns River water taxi has suspended service starting on Sunday.

City bridges will close when winds reach 40 mph. Shelters will open Monday at 10 a.m.

In Jacksonville Beach, Florida, the mayor is expecting a curfew. The sale of alcohol will be suspended in a few hours pending an announcement.

 

5:35 p.m. ET, September 1, 2019

Florida's St. Lucie County has roughly 210 people in shelters

St. Lucie County has about 210 people in shelters, Howard Tipton, St. Lucie County administrator, said Sunday afternoon.

"In the special needs shelter we have about 40 to 45 people," Tipton said in a Facebook Live press conference. 

Local government agencies will remain closed through Thursday, Tipton said. The Emergency Operation Center is currently at level 2, and will go to level 1 — the highest level of activation — tomorrow at 8 a.m. ET. 

5:27 p.m. ET, September 1, 2019

Florida school districts announce closures ahead of hurricane landfall

School closures around Florida continue as Hurricane Dorian approaches the US.

Miami-Dade Schools will close Tuesday, according to a press conference officials held Sunday. 

Both Duval County Public Schools and St. Johns County Public Schools will close Tuesday and Wednesday, according to websites for both districts.

Brevard Public Schools will be closed through Wednesday, according to a tweet the district sent Sunday afternoon.

5:22 p.m. ET, September 1, 2019

New hurricane warnings and watches issued for parts of Florida

A hurricane warning has been issued from the Juniper Inlet to the Volusia/Brevard County line, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A hurricane watch has also been issued for the area stretching from the Volusia/Brevard to the Flagler/Volusia County line.

The new warnings and watches came in the NWS's 5 p.m. ET Dorian update.

In addition, a storm surge warning has been issued from Lantana to the Volusia/Brevard County Line and a storm surge watch has been issued from the Volusia/Brevard County Line to the Flagler/Volusia County Line.

Below is a summary of the watches and warnings currently in effect from the 5 p.m. NHC Advisory:

A storm surge warning is in effect for:

  • Lantana to the Volusia/Brevard County Line

A storm surge watch is in effect for:

  • North of Deerfield Beach to Lantana
  • Volusia/Brevard County Line to the Flagler/Volusia County Line

A hurricane warning is in effect for:

  • Northwestern Bahamas excluding Andros Island
  • Jupiter Inlet to the Volusia/Brevard County Line

A hurricane watch is in effect for:

  • Andros Island
  • North of Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet
  • Volusia/Brevard County Line to the Flagler/Volusia County Line

A tropical storm warning is in effect for:

  • North of Deerfield Beach to Jupiter Inlet

A tropical storm watch is in effect for:

  • North of Golden Beach to Deerfield Beach
  • Lake Okeechobee

5:10 p.m. ET, September 1, 2019

Charleston mayor: 'This is a serious storm, y'all'

Auxiliary pumps have been set up in parts of Charleston, South Carolina, that are prone to flooding, as the state prepares for Hurricane Dorian.

“Hurricane Dorian is sitting out there in the Atlantic, churning away, getting a little stronger. We've got our eyes on it and we are preparing for the worst and we're praying for the best,” Charleston County Council Chairman J. Elliott Summey said.

Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon reminded the public that “each one of these storms is different and it impacts us in different ways,” and said Dorian has the potential to be one of the worst storms in their recorded history.

“With sustained winds of 185 mph this could be the most powerful hurricane in reported Atlantic history,” Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said. “Admittedly it is a ways off. ...This is a serious storm, y’all and let’s get ready for it. Be prepared."

 

 

4:50 p.m. ET, September 1, 2019

More than 148,000 Floridians must evacuate St. Johns County

There are roughly 148,500 residents in St. Johns County, Florida, under mandatory evacuation order starting Monday at 8 a.m. ET.

St. Johns County has issued mandatory evacuation orders for people in Zones A and B. These zones include the entire City of St. Augustine, St. Augustine Beach and those living on waterfront properties or flood-prone areas. A mandatory evacuation order has also been issued for people in Hastings and Flagler Estates. 

St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar expects the bridges near the evacuation zones to remain open to traffic until late Tuesday. The bridges may close at that time, Shoar said.

"This is a storm of storms,” Shoar said during a news conference Sunday.