hurricane prep

Businesses in the St. Simons village boarded up Monday in preperation for Hurricane Dorian.

Little had changed with Hurricane Dorian in the time between the National Weather Service’s Monday evening and Tuesday morning weather briefings, according to NWS meteorologist Al Sandrick.

Local government officials gathered in Glynn County’s Emergency Operations Center at 8 a.m. this morning to hear from the weather service, which has delivered morning, afternoon and evening updates on Dorian for the last several days.

While the hurricane was still at a standstill over the Bahamas, Sandrick said it is expected to begin moving soon. Given the storm's slow movement, predicting when it will arrive is difficult, he said, but the effects should be felt within the next 36 hours. 

Aside from a slight increase in the forecasted rainfall — rising from four to six inches to six to eight inches — most of the information was the same as that delivered Monday evening.

The Golden Isles can expect “historic” breaking waves as Dorian skirts along the coast. Sandrick encouraged everyone to be wary of the “extreme and increasing threat of dangerous surf” on the coast.

Most if not all hurricane conditions are expected to remain off the coast, with the coastline experiencing tropical-storm-force winds and rain. Such conditions are not expected to extend very far inland.

“This is going to be the big story when this is over, what this storm did to the immediate beaches,” Sandrick said.

Indicating a heat map of weather conditions, Sandrick directed the room’s attention out to sea.

“That red in the ocean should draw your attention,” Sandrick said.

Hurricane conditions out at sea will contribute greatly to the intensity of waves, which the NWS expects to crash against the coast and overwash into low-lying areas, causing flooding.

Meteorologists expect the beaches in Palm Beach and Flagler County, Fla., to get the worst of it, Sandrick said. Beaches along the North Florida and South Georgia coasts could see drastic impacts.

Confidence is high in the forecasts from the National Hurricane Center, but any deviation could mean significantly better or worse conditions for the Golden Isles, Sandrick said.

Any westward movement is bad, he said, any eastward shift is good.

Most of the information presented was not much different from the last update, however.

“I feel like we keep waking up and hearing the same thing. Good news, bad news, but the keyword is optimism,” said county EMA Director Jay Wiggins. “I said optimism, but now I’m going to be pessimistic. He’s going to show up. Dorian is coming.”

He once again encouraged all government agencies represented in the Emergency Operations Center to be cautious and to plan for the worst.

“(Hurricane) Matthew wobbled just a little off the coast, and we felt major impacts here,” Wiggins said.

Each government agency then gave updates on their hurricane response status.

Andrew Burroughs, interim director of the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission, said the utility plans to emulate the county and city of Brunswick by closing its offices today through Thursday.

The current plan for all three agencies is to open for normal business hours on Friday.

Jekyll Island Authority Executive Director Jones Hooks reminded the room that the Musgrove Causeway and all beaches on the island will be closed at 8 p.m. today. A curfew will go into effect at the same time.

The curfew will allow Georgia State Patrol officers to keep people off the road when the hurricane arrives, Hooks clarified.

Jekyll Island is the only area of the county under curfew. It is not currently planned to extend to any other area. Evacuation zone A — all areas east of Interstate 95 — is under a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.

Dorian was downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 110 mph at 11 a.m. Glynn County is currently under a tropical storm warning, hurricane watch and a high surf advisory. 

The next weather briefing is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

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