The message from Osceola County emergency officials regarding monster Hurricane Dorian, now a Category 5 storm with 180 mph winds, is strong: take action now!
The county is doing the same, such as ordering a mandatory evacuation of Good Samaritan Village, including all personnel, residents and tenants beginning Monday at noon.
“That was at the request of their management,” County Commissioner Chair Cheryl Grieb said, noted that Community flooded badly in Hurricane Irma and required many airboat rescues. “It lies in a floodway in a lot of the sections of that park.”
Good Sam residents with transportation or other needs will be taken to the Saint Cloud Senior Center, which will only house their evacuees with no other family or options for evacuation.
If the current National Hurricane Center storm track verifies — and it has edged slightly west over the last 12 hours — county Emergency Operations Director Bill Litton said Osceola County could, and it’s still too early to say for sure, see 12 to 18 hours of tropical storm-force winds (40 to 74 mph) beginning as early as Tuesday morning.
“Any further wobbles to the left and we’d be looking at hurricane force winds, so I urge residents not to rest their laurels on the exact path or the cone. This is a deadly-serious storm.”
Since this will be a sustained Wind and Rain event for the area – Dorian is still not expected to be moving quickly, and 8 to 10 inches of rain could fall, the county has also issued a voluntary evacuation for residents in low-lying areas and mobile homes.
The Council on Aging on Generation Point Boulevard, the county’s special needs shelter, opened Saturday. Those going there need to bring essentials like medication. For information on registering to go there, call the County Special Needs hotline at 407 – 742 – 9001.
The County’s three other general-use shelters will open Monday at noon: Harmony High School (pet friendly), St. Cloud High and Horizon Middle School.
Sandbagging operations have ended, and officials said over 200,000 sandbags were given out.
Regular trash collection will occur Monday in the county and St. Cloud. In the city of Kissimmee, regular Monday routes will tentatively be collected Thursday and Tuesday routes on Friday.
Osceola County public schools are closed on Tuesday.
Gas supplies in the area are low, and state Sen. Victor Torres said he would be working with the state and FHP to make sure tanker trucks, which started in South Florida and are working their way north, are on the way to meet demand.
The county will brief the media again on Monday at 9 am.