Post Dorian Update Sept 5 -Relief, Garbage, Lake O, Tolls

Post Dorian Update Sept 5 -Relief, Garbage, Lake O, Tolls

Hurricane Dorian has strengthened into a category 3 storm as it moves along the coast of the Carolinas, bringing damaging winds and life threatening storm surge to the area. The Treasure Coast was largely spared from the wrath of the storm, but the Bahamas have been devastated. That’s why several different groups and organizations immediately began organizing to get supplies and relief for the Bahamas as soon as Dorian moved out of our area. The city of Stuart and Martin County have both teamed up with Operation 300.

There are several different groups and organizations looking to raise money and supplies for the Bahamas, but officials want to make sure that you don’t fall victim to a contribution scam. The City of Port St Lucie and the PSL Police Department suggest that you vet the organization before you donate to make sure it is legitimate. Charities in Florida must register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and you can check on a charity status by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA. You can also check the Better Business Bureau’s Giving Alliance at Give dot org, or the Charity Navigator at Charity Navigator dot org. And know that scammers may take to social media to solicit for donations using names similar to well known charities. If you do fall victim, contact the state Attorney General’s office at 866-9-NO-SCAM.

Lots of people combed the beaches yesterday after spending several days stuck inside. Some were looking for seashells, others picking up trash kicked up by the storm.

Overall, the beach received a healthy grade. Be careful of rip currents, which are made more likely after a storm because of all the new sand bars. And the murky water can make it difficult to spot a rip current. If you get caught in one, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the rip current. Then come back to shore. Do not try and swim against the current.

As life returns to normal here in Florida, the debate on when to take down your hurricane shutters heats up. Many people might be looking at all the activity in the tropics and decide to wait, but officials say it’s a safety hazard to leave them up.

Luckily, even though there are several trouble spots out there right now, none appear to be an immediate threat to Florida. Tropical Storm Fernand made landfall in Mexico and is weakening. Tropical Storm Gabrielle is heading to the north Atlantic. And a low pressure system near Bermuda that could develop in the next few days is heading northeast away from us. However, there is a tropical wave coming off the coast of Africa that we’ll want to keep an eye on. It has a 50% chance of developing over the next five days.

There are a lot of people looking for ways to help the Bahamas following the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian. Operation 300 is looking to streamline and consolidate many individual efforts.

The group has already been in touch with the Bahamian government and customs officials, so that once various travel restrictions have been lifted the group will be one of the first able to get in.

One of the concerns prior to Dorian was the water level in Lake Okeechobee. Right now, Lake O sits at 13.89 feet, but could reach a point where discharges east into the St. Lucie Estuary are possible. Congressman Brian Mast said yesterday that efforts to keep the lake lower than normal heading into storm season are now paying off, pointing out that there were not any emergency discharges prior to the storm. Mast had pushed for a plan that called for the Army Corp of Engineers to discharge water from Lake Okeechobee during the dry season, so that there would be more room in the lake during the rainy season and hopefully reduce the need for discharges when the water temperature is warm and conditions for harmful algae blooms are ripe.

Tolls are back in force on Florida roadways. They had been suspended to help with hurricane evacuation, but went back into effect at midnight.

Trash pickup resumes today. If you are in St Lucie County, your trash will be collected on your normal times. In Martin County, if your trash pickup is scheduled for Monday it will be collected today. If your normal trash pickup is Tuesday, it will be collected on Friday. All residential garbage pickup will resume their normal schedules next week. And residential recycling in Martin County will not be collected this week, but will resume a normal schedule next week.

Hurricane Dorian is blowing more than just wind on the Florida coast. Police in Melbourne say that on Tuesday a beachgoer found a brick of cocaine that had washed onto shore. That came just a couple of days after a duffel bag filled with over a dozen bricks of cocaine was discovered on Cocoa Beach.

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