John Dosh

Escambia County

Hurricane Dorian is forecast to intensify into a major hurricane and pose a significant threat to much of Florida over Labor Day Weekend. Governor Ron DeSantis has now expanded the state of emergency to include the entire state.

Dorian could reach Category 4 hurricane strength, with winds of at least 130 mph, before making landfall early Monday somewhere along the Florida or Georgia coast.

Forecasters expect the storm to affect the entire Florida peninsula.

However, it’s now looking like a different story for the northwestern part of state.  

Escambia County Emergency Management

The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane is now over.

The six-month period ended Friday, Nov. 30. In northwest Florida, the season is being remembered most for Hurricane Michael, a powerful, late-developing storm that devastated some neighboring communities.

“We were very fortunate,” said Santa Rosa County Public Safety Director Brad Baker.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season is now officially underway. The six-month season runs from June 1 to November 30.

This year, emergency managers across Florida didn’t have to wait until June to deal with a tropical event as Subtropical Storm Alberto showered much of the state with rain as it tracked toward the Pensacola area for several days before drifting eastward and making a Monday landfall in Panama City.

theadvocate.org

After Hurricane Irma slammed into south Florida last month, local governments across the Southeast rushed in people and equipment to begin the rebuild. Among them was a team from Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties in northwest Florida.

Irma was also the most intense Atlantic hurricane to strike the United States since Katrina in 2005, and the first major hurricane to make landfall in Florida since Wilma that same year.

FPREN

  

Governor Rick Scott was in Pensacola Thursday morning for a briefing and to update the media on Tropical Storm Nate. "Based on current forecasts from the National Hurricane Center, we expect the storm to continue its northward track as it moves into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend" said Scott after he emerged from the briefing surrounded by local officials at the Escambia County Emergency Operations center. "The storm has the potential to become a hurricane and impact the Florida Panhandle this weekend and families must be ready."

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

As Hurricane Irma, still a strong Category 4 storm as of Friday evening, continues to barrel toward South Florida, state and local officials have ramped up efforts to help those fleeing the devastating storm.

For the past week, Florida Governor Rick Scott has been traveling the state urging all residents to be prepared for Irma. On Friday, he conducted briefings in Tampa, Ft. Myers and West Palm Beach. At more nearly 400 miles across, Irma will impact almost every part of the state. 

John Dosh: "Right now the present official forecast doesn't show much impact for us up to the end of the forecast period, which is typically five days, and looking at the information the hurricane center is putting out in long term modeling, it is looking like it should continue the trend of moving up through the peninsula of Florida and providing very little impact for the panhandle other than some gusty, notherly winds. So basically, at this point, we are just monitoring and trying to prepare for any Floridians who are fleeing from the peninsula who we might be able to help."

National Hurricane Center

Florida is bracing as Hurricane Matthew’s path moves closer to the state. Preparations are being made all the way up to the Panhandle.

The latest from the National Hurricane Center has Matthew about 55 miles from the eastern tip of Cuba. Movement is north at around ten miles an hour, with top sustained winds at 145 miles per hour -- making it a Category-4 storm.

“We are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, and we’re not going to take any chances,” said Gov. Rick Scott, who on Monday declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties in Florida.

Photo courtesy of Escambia County Emergency Management

The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane is underway. The six month period officially runs from June 1 – November 30. Local and state governments have been working hard to prepare, just last month participating in the annual statewide hurricane season exercise involving response to the fictionalized Category-4 Hurricane Kimo.

Locally, Escambia County took part in the drill.  John Dosh is the county’s Emergency Management Director and he spoke with Sandra Averhart about the exercise, the county’s general readiness, and his message to residents as hurricane season begins.

Hurricane season in the Atlantic and Caribbean is underway, along with calls for residents along the coastline to be ready.

Forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predict a slower than usual season, with six to 11 named storms, three to six possibly hurricanes, and one or two of those Category-3 or higher. Lead meteorologist Gerry Bell says the main player is El Nino.

Bob Barrett / WUWF News

It’s been chilly in Northwest Florida the past few nights, with temperatures approaching and occasionally dipping below freezing. Fortunately, those cold nights have been clear nights. 

Last year we weren’t so lucky.  Escambia County Emergency Management Chief John Dosh was being a bit understated last year when he said "It's a little challenging because we're not really equipped to handle these icing and snow conditions". Of all the potential emergencies officials plan for in Northwest Florida, an ice storm is pretty close to the bottom of the list. That’s no longer the case.