Broward County under tropical storm watch, opening special needs shelters

Officials meet in Broward County as Hurricane Dorian moves toward Florida

Officials in Broward County are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Dorian as the powerful Category 5 storm continues moving towards Florida's east coast.

PLANTATION, Fla. – Officials in Broward County are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Dorian as the powerful Category 5 storm continues moving toward Florida's east coast. 

Early Sunday afternoon a tropical storm watch was issued for Broward, meaning tropical storm-force winds could be felt in the area within 48 hours. 

At the Broward Emergency Operations Center in Plantation, workers are busy checking on the status of shelters and doing other final preparations to ensure that the county is as ready as it can be for whatever the storm may bring. 

Sunday morning, Local 10's Christina Boomer Vazquez was at the facility as a policy meeting was underway, with officials speaking to the National Hurricane Center to evaluate the possibilities of additional watches or warnings and even potential evacuations.

Decisions also have to be made about mobilizing first responders.

Broward County officials moved the EOC into 24-hour mode early Sunday afternoon. 

Plans are already underway for post-storm activity, such as the Traffic Engineering Department going out to assess any damage to traffic signals. 

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie announced that all schools and district offices would be closed on Tuesday, in addition to Monday. That includes the Broward County Courthouse. 

Keeping schools closed allows for the availability of evacuation shelters, if needed. County officials say there is no plan to open general population shelters or pet-friendly shelters, but that is subject to change based on weather conditions.

Due to the possibility of power outages, Broward County is opening three adult special needs shelters and one pediatric special needs shelter at 2 p.m. Sunday.

For information on the location of these special needs shelters or to register for one, call the Broward Emergency Hotline at 311 or 954-831-4000.

It was also announced on Sunday that Port Everglades would close at 6 p.m. except for gas trucks, which have been granted special permission from the U.S. Coast Guard to continue making deliveries until Monday morning or until winds reach 35 mph. 

About the Author:

David Dwork joined the WPLG Local 10 News team in August 2019. Born and raised in Miami-Dade County, David has covered South Florida sports since 2007.