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South Florida under Hurricane Warning

Posted on 03 October 2016 by JLusk

034341w5_nl_smBy Rachel Galvin

We’ve all been watching Hurricane Matthew as it barrels down on areas like Haiti and Cuba but now it has headed toward South Florida. The question is will it make impact as a Hurricane in the Sunshine State? At first there was some uncertainty. The percentages slowly increased but nothing was set in stone. But now we are under a Hurricane Warning, which means that wind speeds of 74 mph or higher are possible. It is a Category 4 storm at this time, which could change, which on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale equals 130-156 mph winds. This means that “well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.” However, the storm is still at sea and, at this time, is not hitting us directly, so we may have wind closer to a tropical storm or possibly with Hurricane force gusts. But the storm has kept inching west. Will it come closer to the shoreline? We don’t know yet.

People have been rushing out to stock up on water and do other things to complete their Hurricane Preparedness check list. With memories of Hurricanes like Wilma on their mind, they wanted to make sure they were as prepared as possible. In that vein, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in Florida. He said that the hurricane must be taken seriously and if it directly impacts the state, we could see massive destruction unseen since Hurricane Andrew.

Deerfield Beach is also getting ready, adding information on their website (www.deerfield-beach.com), including important numbers to call and encouraging people to sign up for Code Red (under Residents, under Register For) and stay close to social media. They also have a Hurricane Guide online.

As of press time, Rebecca Medina-Stewart, who does Public Relations for the city, said, “We are taking this storm seriously and prepping as if it’s coming our way. We expect flooding and plenty of debris to be cleaned up once Matthew is gone. Our staff is on alert and ready to respond if and when the call comes.  We cannot stress enough that everyone should prepare for this.”

She added that they should know by 11 a.m. Wednesday whether the Emergency Operation Center locally will be activated. If there are evacuations, systems like Code Red would be a good way to stay informed – she is encouraging residents to sign up.

Florida Power & Light has also been preparing for possible outages. Their phone number to report an outage is 1-800-468-8243 (1-800-4-outage).

As of now, Broward County Schools are closed on Thursday and Friday, but this could change.

For tips on dealing with a hurricane, also check out The Observer’s Hurricane section online at www.observernewspaperonline.com. We also will be posting updates as we get them on our website homepage.

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