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More Than 2,600 People In Palm Beach And Broward Shelters As Dorian Approaches

Updated on September 2, 2019 at 9:30 p.m.

Several hospitals in Palm Beach County have closed or limited access out of concern about storm conditions. 

JFK Medical Center closed both its Palm Beach Gardens and Boynton Beach emergency departments. Its main campus restricted visiting hours starting Monday afternoon. The hospital is still open to patients and fully operational during the storm. 

The West Palm Beach VA Medical Center, and its clinics, are closed Tuesday. So are the VA Centers in Jupiter and Greenacres. 

The rural VA clinics in Clewiston and Moore Haven will be closed all this week. 

Staff at the VA locations will call patients who have appointments to reschedule. 

The VA has a list of contact numbers for those still needing services on its local website

Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach evacuated its 64 patients to nearby hospitals, including Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Center. It’s urging patients to call 911 if they need emergency services. 

JFK Medical Center closed both its Palm Beach Gardens and Boynton Beach emergency departments. Its main campus restricted visiting hours starting Monday afternoon. The hospital is still open to patients and will be fully operational during the storm. 

The West Palm Beach VA Medical Center and its clinics are closed Tuesday. So are the VA Centers in Jupiter and Greenacres. The rural VA clinics in Clewiston and Moore Haven will be closed all week. Several of the VA's community-based outreach clinics have closed, as well.

Staff at the VA locations will call patients who have appointments to reschedule. 

The VA has a list of contact numbers for those still needing services on its local website.

Uber, Lyft Offer Free Rides

Ride-share companies Uber and Lyft are offering free round trip rides for people who need a ride to emergency shelters in Palm Beach, Martin and Brevard Counties.

The offer is good for $20 each way. The shelters must be state-approved and users must enter the promo code DORIANRELIEF in the payment section of the apps.

This offer is good until September 15th. 

Broward Still On Guard

Broward County leaders are still watching Hurricane Dorian despite the storm's slight turn to the north.

At a Monday evening news briefing, County Mayor Mark Bogen said emergency officials aren't letting their guard down yet.

"So long as conditions improve, we expect to get back to normal business on Wednesday," he said. "But we're watching closely, as things can change minute-by-minute."

Broward County opened three shelters Monday afternoon for anyone who might feel safer weathering the tropical storm watch there. There are also four shelters for people with special medical needs open - they have more staffing, and are supposed to maintain power in case of an outage. 

Those shelters, Bogen said, are only 10 percent full. If you'd still like to register for a special needs shelter for the night, you can call 311.

Broward County buildings, parks and libraries will still be closed Tuesday. There is heavy rainfall expected across the county through Monday night into Tuesday.

Palm Beach Opens Shelters

There were about 2,600 people across the county's 11 open shelters as of 5 p.m. Monday.

The county opened nine regular shelters in local schools, one special-needs shelter at the South Florida fairgrounds, and a pet-friendly shelter at the West Boynton Recreation Center.

The county's special needs shelter at the South Florida Fairgrounds Expo Center has 226 people, about half its total capacity. There are 83 people sheltering with their pets at the West Boynton Recreation Center.

There is capacity for a little over 47,000 people at shelters across the county.

Water Managers Open Emergency Operations Center

The South Florida Water Management District activated its emergency operations center Monday morning.

The agency's EOC monitors all operations in its 16-county area.

The South Florida Water Management District oversees 2,000 miles of canals. They say they lowered water levels in many of them over the last week to more easily absorb excess water from the storm.

Water management district employees are monitoring sites across the area in person and remotely. All its public offices are closed for Labor Day. Offices in the seven counties at most risk of storm conditions will also be closed Tuesday.

The Army Corps of Engineers expects Lake Okeechobee to see anywhere from two to three and a half more feet of water because of Dorian. Engineers say they're not worried that will jeopardize lake levels or the Herbert Hoover dike, and no evacuation order has been issued for the area around Lake Okeechobee.

Broward Shelters Are Open

In Broward County, emergency officials are still expecting outer bands of Hurricane Dorian to bring strong wind gusts over over 40 mph and heavy local rainfall. The county is in the middle of experiencing season high tides, or King Tides. For beachgoers who were hoping to spend their Labor Day at the beach, there’s a high risk for rip currents along Broward’s coast that will last through next week.

County officials opened four special needs shelters on Sunday afternoon. On Monday afternoon, the county opened three general population shelters, which is not typical during a Tropical Storm Watch. 

The three general population shelters are located at:   

•    Atlantic Technical College/Arthur Ashe Junior Campus, 1701 NW 23rd Ave., Fort Lauderdale

•    Monarch High School, 5050 Wiles Road in Coconut Creek

•    Everglades High School, 17100 SW 48th Court, Miramar (PET-FRIENDLY)

The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades are closed until further notice. City of Fort Lauderdale officials have postponed its city commission meeting that was scheduled for Tuesday. They have also suspended all non-emergency city operations through Tuesday. Tower cranes for construction in downtown Fort Lauderdale have all been placed in weather vane mode to allow them to move freely with the wind gusts; that's the standard procedure for cranes in high wind events, according to city officials.

As of Monday afternoon, several parking garages in Fort Lauderdale have been opened enforcement and fee free.

Riverwalk Center Garage (formerly City Park Garage)

150 SE 2nd Street

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308

Arts and Science District Garage (Broward Center)
101 SW 5th Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

Las Olas Garage (Las Olas and S. Birch Road on beach)
200 Las Olas Circle
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

Bridgeside Square Garage (A1A and Oakland Park Blvd)
PARK ON SECOND FLOOR ONLY
3020 NE 32 Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308

Coast Guard Ready To Deploy

The Coast Guard says it has more than 20 cutters crews moored in Key West, ready to deploy to areas hit by Hurricane Dorian in the Caribbean and Bahamas.

coast_guard_dorian_-_key_west.jpg
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Lally

Palm Beach Schools Remain Closed

Palm Beach County public schools will remain closed through Wednesday. Nine schools are serving as shelters for evacuees from mobile homes and other vulnerable housing and some coastal areas. 

With power outages possible, Palm Beach County superintendent Donald Fennoy reminded parents of one way to keep kids busy – no electricity required. 

“This is a good time for kids to be reading,” he said. 

Some schools sent kids home with reading and math packets in anticipation of canceled classes. 

Palm Beach State College and Florida Atlantic University have also called off classes through Wednesday. Both have said they’ll post decisions about any further closures on their websites.

Reporting by Madeline Fox.

Tropical Storm Winds Arrive

First sustained tropical storm winds were registered in South Florida at 12:59 p.m. According to the National Weather Service Miami-South Florida, sustained winds of 40 mph with a gust up to 48 mph were registered on Monday at Juno Beach Pier.

Health Facilities Evacuated

Governor Ron DeSantis said 72 nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been evacuated before Hurricane Dorian.

Some Florida hospitals have been evacuated.

“These include Advent Health in New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County, Cape Canaveral in Brevard, Cleveland Clinic South in Martin County, Port St. Lucy Hospital, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Palm Beach, Stewart Sebastian River Medical Center in Indian River, and Halifax Psychiatric Center North in Volusia,” DeSantis said.

The governor asked healthcare workers to keep updating emergency information into the state’s system.

“If you’re involved with the healthcare facility, continue inputting your emergency updates into our emergency status system. It includes generator, utility information evacuation status, emergency contact,” he said.

After residents of a Broward County nursing home died following Hurricane Irma in 2017, the state put in place backup-power requirements for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Residents of The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills died after Irma knocked out the facility’s air-conditioning system, creating sweltering conditions.

Florida has 84,078 nursing home beds, with more than half --- 46,255 beds --- in facilities that have requested, and been granted, additional time to meet the backup power mandate.

The state has 106,254 ALF beds, with nearly 86 percent in facilities that have met the generator requirement. Facilities with 7,301 beds have requested and been given additional time to meet the requirement. But the state has another 7,762 beds in facilities without generators and without an approved “variance.”

From WMFE, in Orlando, and News Service of Florida. 

Airports Closed

Airports in Palm Beach and Broward counties will close by noon Monday as category 5 Hurricane Dorian moves towards South Florida. 

The storm's maximum sustained winds of up to 165 mph are forcing Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to close today at noon “until further notice.”

Palm Beach International airport is also closed.

That leaves Miami International as the only major airport open in South Florida.

WEATHER: Storm track, hourly outlooks, 7-day forecasts and weather alerts

Tri-Rail trains will also be suspending service Monday-- officials haven't said when trains will resume running.

Mandatory evacuation orders were also issued yesterday for coastal areas of Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Brevard counties.

Florida has also suspended tolls on major highways, including Florida's Turnpike, Alligator Alley and the Sawgrass Expressway.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Hurricane Dorian