Video shows plane passing near Dorian’s eye

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) plane flew near the eye of Hurricane Dorian as it was churning in the Caribbean on Thursday, August 29.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) plane flew near the eye of Hurricane Dorian as it was churning in the Caribbean on Thursday, August 29.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned residents of the east coast to remain vigilant Saturday as the projected track of Category 4 Hurricane Dorian shifted east and north, increasing the possibility that the storm would not make landfall in the state.

“You can look at a little bit of a movement to the west and all of a sudden we’re looking at a much different scenario,’’ DeSantis said at a 9 a.m. briefing at the state Emergency Operations Center.

“Even if doesn’t directly strike Florida, this is a big powerful storm and you’re still looking at really significant storm surge on the east coast of Florida,’’ he said.

“You’re looking at major flooding events in different parts of the state, so the effects can range, but you’re still looking at significant impacts if the storm remains hugging the coast.”

DeSantis said mandatory evacuation warnings have been issued for Brevard County on Sunday and a partial evacuation has been announced for Martin County. Other counties — Palm Beach, Glades, Hendry, Martin, St. Lucie — have issued voluntary evacuation orders.

Governor Desantis_DORIAN00601 JAI

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to the media outside the National Hurricane Center during a press conference about the status of Hurricane Dorian on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in Miami.

Jose A. Iglesias

Because of the voluntary nature of the evacuation, the state will not be lifting tolls on its toll roads, but “we are going to monitor the traffic flows and if the traffic becomes abnormal, we will take action to alleviate that,’’ he said.

DeSantis said that the gasoline supplies, which had faced sporadic shortages as drivers topped their tanks, were “much better.”

Fuel trucks have been working all night to replenish diminished gas supplies but “obviously as the track has shifted a little bit you’re naturally going to see less people, say in Miami-Dade County, waiting in line for gas.”

He said President Donald Trump offered support if the state needed additional assistance to get fuel supplies to gas stations but DeSantis said he didn’t think that would be needed “at this point.”

“As it shifts east, that means Southwest Florida and West Florida — chances of them being affected have gone down dramatically,’’ he said.

He noted that the east coast is still in the cone of probability, allowing the state to focus resources on more targeted counties.

“We do have more certainty now of the general direction of this thing than we did 48 hours ago,’’ he said. “The European spaghetti plots are great right now they all go into the sea.”

DeSantis warned that heavy rains and King Tides have already led to high water in some areas of the state, where above average rainfall has occurred in southeast and north-central Florida.

He warned that areas such as at the St. John’s River could experience flooding because of heavy rains and high winds, as happened after Hurricane Matthew, the Category 5 hurricane that paralleled Florida’s east coast when much of Jacksonville faced high water.

“So there are a lot of things that will be affected by this even if it does stay off the coast of Florida,’’ DeSantis said.

Mary Ellen Klas can be reached at and on Twitter @MaryEllenKlas

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