Hurricane Dorian is predicted to make landfall in Florida as a Category 4, but the storm could make its northern turn earlier and landfall later.
The hurricane now is projected to make landfall near Vero Beach, north from the earlier prediction of Tequesta, on Tuesday afternoon. The update from the National Hurricane Center at 5 p.m. on Friday shows Dorian is strengthening in the warm Atlantic waters, with sustained winds of up to 115 miles per hour.
Rosen Hotels Steps Up to Help
In the meantime, Rosen Hotels & Resorts is offering special distress rates at eight Orlando-area hotels for those affected by Hurricane Dorian. The company is working to assist evacuees seeking a safe, affordable place to stay.
Rosen Inn International, Rosen Inn, Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando and Midpointe Hotel, all in Orlando, and Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista in Lake Buena Vista all are offering a $59.99 nightly rate, along with free Wi-Fi and no additional pet fee.
Guests booking the Hurricane Dorian Florida Resident Distress Rate at one of the five leisure hotels may add an additional $15 per night to receive two adult breakfast buffets daily. The rate includes the Kids Eat Free Program, in which children 5 years old and younger eat free when accompanied by an adult purchasing the buffet. The breakfast package must be confirmed at the time of booking.
Rosen also is offering a discounted nightly rate at Rosen Plaza ($79), Rosen Centre ($84) and Rosen Shingle Creek ($89), all in Orlando.
Meetings participants and others traveling to and through Florida during Labor Day Weekend, usually one of the busiest travel times of the year, should expect delays and cancellations due to the impact of Dorian.
“It is essential to not underestimate the possible impacts of this storm and residents should prepare their homes now,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber in a statement. “The City is planning for the worst and hoping for the best—and we implore our residents do the same.”
Groups and individuals traveling to the Florida coast area are encouraged to take precautions, such as allowing extra time to make connections and monitoring available ground transportation. Planners who have arranged meetings also can minimize the impacts of the hurricane by taking several steps to deal with issues including power failures and staff shortages at properties.
Airlines Issuing Fee Waivers
Airlines were offering fee waivers for changes and cancellations for trips to Caribbean destinations on Thursday morning, but few included Florida waivers. Most airlines were expected to update their waiver policies to include Florida airports, though. Those who want to cancel trips should reach out to their airlines, cruises, hotels and tour operators.
Royal Caribbean and Carnival cruise lines have shifted cruise itineraries to react to the storm. Itineraries for MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line remain unchanged.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Wednesday afternoon for 26 counties in the storm’s potential path. He said that people in areas that could be affected should keep monitoring the storm.
“I will continue to monitor Hurricane Dorian closely with emergency management officials,” he said in a statement. “The state stands ready to support all counties along the coast as they prepare.”
Dorian is expected to become a weak Category 4 when it comes ashore in Florida. It would be the first Category 4 or higher hurricane to land on Florida’s east coast since Andrew, a Category 5 storm, ripped through the Miami area in 1992. Andrew was blamed for 61 deaths and caused about $27 billion in damage. Dorian could drop to a Category 1 as it crosses Central Florida.
The Bahamas, Florida and other parts of the Southeast may see heavy rainfall over the weekend and into early next week. This could result in life-threatening flash floods, surf and rip current conditions.
Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands escaped what some forecasters expected to be major devastation when Dorian cleared them on Wednesday. The U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority was still working to restore electricity to some areas of St. Thomas and St. John on Thursday, but USVI Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. lifted a curfew, saying roads have been cleared of all debris.