Dorian Raises Its Sights to the Carolinas

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Hurricane Dorian gradually left Florida behind Wednesday, setting its sights on the coasts of Georgia and then the Carolinas. These areas face a triple threat of “destructive winds, flooding rains, and life-threatening storm surges,” according to the National Hurricane Center.

While Dorian stayed far enough off the coast to largely spare Florida from the worst of its wrath, forecast to make a much closer approach to the Carolinas coastline today. 

Impacts are thus expected to be more severe, reports The Washington Post.

The historic storm diminished to Category 2 but actually had grown in size following its devastating sweep through the Bahamas, reported USA Today. As of 2 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, the storm was 115 miles east of Jacksonville, FL, and moving north-northwest at 9 mph. The storm’s peak sustained winds were 105 mph, making it a high-end Category 2 storm. Dorian is expected to maintain its intensity through Thursday.  

Parts of the Florida coast were experiencing heavy rains and winds Wednesday. The center of Dorian was forecast to move near or over the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina on Thursday through Friday morning. AccuWeather said Dorian could draw within 30 miles of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – and possibly make landfall there – late today.

AT&T said Wednesday overall, its network continues to perform well in areas affected by Hurricane Dorian. The carrier is completing final preparation efforts in the Carolinas, which includes protecting its facilities against flooding with sandbags, and identifying and staging network recovery equipment. “With the storm’s changing direction, our teams are relocating assets to strategic locations to deploy quickly if needed once conditions allow,” the carrier said.

Sprint said yesterday afternoon there were no storm related impacts to its network in Florida. Sprint’s Emergency Response Team expanded preparations along the east coast. The ERT is conducting operational readiness checks for all power generators, preparing COWS, COLTS, SatCOLTS and other mobile cellular infrastructure for potential deployment, staging a number of satellite assets that can provide temporary cellular and internet connectivity, and prepping charging stations for deployment, according to the company. Sprint will waive call, text and data overages through  September 8 for affected customers in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. The company will also offer U.S. customers free calls to the Bahamas and waive roaming fees for customers in the Bahamas through September 9.  

Verizon is offering customers unlimited calling and texting from the U.S. to the Bahamas, through September 9, (applicable taxes and surcharges will apply). “Our Verizon roaming partner in the Bahamas is working quickly to restore services impacted by the storm and we will stay in contact with them as their work continues,” the company stated.

As Dorian made its way up the coast of Florida, Verizon said its network felt negligible impact with performance remaining at normal levels. “We continue to stay vigilant and move mobile assets and Verizon Response teams up the coast to be ready for Dorian’s potential impact in Georgia and the Carolinas.” Through September 9, Verizon is expanding its unlimited calling, texting and data offer to consumer and small business customers who live in several Florida and North Carolina counties.

At the FCC, carriers reported minimal damage to cell sites in Florida as of early yesterday. Out of 9,711 cell sites, 0.1 percent were not working, according to the agency’s Disaster Information Reporting System.That’s down from 0.2 percent Tuesday. 

Three cell sites were damaged, 9 were out due to transport issues and one was down because there was no power to the site. Cable and wireline companies reported 35,430 subscribers (up from 6,884 Tuesday) out of service in Florida. These figures may include the loss of telephone, television, and/or Internet services, according to the Commission. No broadcasters reported being off-air.

In addition to 34 Florida counties, the FCC added the following counties to DIRS:

Georgia: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch, Coffee, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glynn, Jeff Davis, Jenkins, Liberty, Long, Mcintosh, Montgomery, Pierce, Richmond, Screven, Tattnall, Telfair, Toombs, Ware, Wayne, and Wheeler 

South Carolina: Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Lee, Lexington, Marion, Marlboro, Orangeburg, Richland, Sumter, and Williamsburg 

North Carolina: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Tyrrell, Washington, Wayne, and Wilson 

September 5, 2019              

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