Path Unclear as Lake Wales Prepares for Hurricane Dorian
Last updated 8/29/2019 at 9:09pm
In preparation for Hurricane Dorian, Lake Wales Mayor Gene Fultz declared a state of emergency for the city starting at noon Thursday, Aug. 29 and lasting up to seven days. This declaration followed a similar one by Gov. Ron DeSantis covering the entire state of Florida.
The order gives City Manager Ken Fields authority to enact emergency management procedures for the city. The city's Emergency Operations Center is expected to open in the main fire department around noon on Sunday to coordinate local efforts.
Area residents appeared to be taking the threat seriously, stocking up on water, batteries, food and other hurricane-related supplies.
While the path of Dorian won't be clear for a few days, most forecasters show the hurricane striking the East Coast of Florida sometime striking by Monday as a dangerous Category 3 or possibly even a Category 4 storm, with heavy winds and rain expected on Sunday. The intensity should dissipate once it makes landfall, but Dorian could still be a major hurricane when it reaches Central Florida. A category 3 hurricane has sustained winds of 111-129 miles per hour and a category 4 has sustained winds of 130-156 miles per hour.
"Due to Hurricane Dorian's uncertain projected path, I am expanding the state of emergency to include all 67 counties throughout Florida," said DeSantis after receiving a briefing Thursday from the National Hurricane Center. "All residents, especially those along the east coast, need to be prepared for possible impacts. As it increases strength, this storm has the potential to severely damage homes, businesses and buildings, which is why all Floridians should remain vigilant. Do not wait until it is too late to make a plan."
Sand and sandbags are now available to area residents in preparation for Hurricane Dorian. Sandbags can be picked up at Lake Wales Fire Stations on Central Avenue and Chalet Suzanne Road. People should bring their own shovel and fill sandbags themselves. The sand is available at the North Fire Station on Chalet Suzanne Road or at Lake Wailes Park. Sandbags can help prevent water intrusion at homes in low lying areas.
The Lake Wales History Museum will have limited exhibit displays Friday, Aug. 30 as they prepare the buildings and collections for severe weather. The Museum will be closed from Saturday, Aug. 31 through Wednesday, Sept. 4, pending post storm impact and utilities services.
Polk County Waste & Recycling asks residents to remove any roll carts, yard waste or bulk from the curb beginning Friday evening, in preparation of the storm. Any garbage, yard waste or bulk items not collected on Friday, needs to be moved. No collection is scheduled for Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2.
Folks living in rural areas, who have long driveways where carts are housed, are also advised to bring roll carts in from the storm. Please do not put any waste items out over the weekend as tropical storm force winds are expected to begin Sunday morning.