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Politics

Traffic Won't Be Going All-One-Way for Evacuees

August 31, 2019 - 7:00am
Florida's Turnpike near the I-75 intersection on Sept. 8, 2017
Florida's Turnpike near the I-75 intersection on Sept. 8, 2017

Florida doesn’t plan to turn portions of highways into all one-way traffic when evacuation orders are issued for Hurricane Dorian.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state has cleared shoulders on interstates and highways and will lift tolls as evacuations orders are issued. But implementing a process known as “contraflow” isn’t currently being considered.

The reason: All one-way traffic could interfere with storm preparation.

“We’re not doing that, certainly at this time, because we’re still bringing in things,” DeSantis said while appearing at the Orange County Emergency Operations Center. “We’re bringing in fuel. We have utilities pre-positioning assets. So, there are a lot of things coming into the state to be able to help fight the storm.”

The idea of turning highways into one-way roads to help with hurricane evacuation has long been debated in Florida.

When state lawmakers considered the issue during the 2018 legislative session as part of a review of Hurricane Irma, Department of Transportation officials warned that contraflow would require increased law enforcement at each interchange, limit the ability of relief operations and fuel trucks to travel into impacted areas and cause backups where lanes merge as contraflow comes to an end.

Lawmakers still went forward with the idea, but then-Gov. Rick Scott, vetoed $750,000 from the 2018-2019 budget that would have led to the Department of Transportation conducting at least three exercises using contraflow lanes to determine if they could speed evacuations.

Scott wrote that “traffic engineers and experts, as well as law enforcement, have determined through experience, review, and simulation modeling that contraflow is not an effective disaster evacuation method.”

Meanwhile, as Dorian looms in the Atlantic, DeSantis said Florida Highway Patrol troopers have been directed to escort fuel trucks from ports to gas stations.

“What we’ve found in places like South Florida, you’d have massive lines and the fuel trucks couldn’t get in,” DeSantis said.

Fuel demands have been creating shortages at stations across the peninsula as Floridians fill up their tanks in anticipation of Dorian’s landfall early next week.

GasBuddy.com on Friday afternoon posted that more than 50 percent of stations were without fuel in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach-Fort Pierce, Fort-Myers-Naples and Gainesville markets. The Tampa-St. Petersburg and Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne markets were at 35 percent and higher.

An executive order DeSantis signed Wednesday lifted restrictions on hours of service and truck weights for fuel trucks, due to the reports of high demand for gas.

Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia also have waived weight requirements for fuel trucks at Florida’s request.

Tropical-storm force winds from Dorian are expected to reach Florida by Sunday morning, with hurricane winds hitting Tuesday morning, according to a National Hurricane Center forecast Friday afternoon.

The “cone of probability,” which offers a general idea of where Dorian could make landfall, stretched Friday afternoon from the lower Florida Keys into South Carolina, though it was centered around the Treasure Coast. After landfall, the storm is expected to linger in Florida for a day as it travels up the East Coast.

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The issue stems from new rules instituted that required a quarterly reporting method by lobbyists to show how they are compensated for services. Hammer’s status is that of an employee lobbyist, a not-her-own lobbying firm. Her work is directly on behalf of Unified Sportsmen of Florida. But the USF is directly supported by the NRA, and the compensation for her services comes directly from the NRA in its reports.For more news.................Copy and paste......................https://bit.ly/2XHEWoU

They'll change their tune soon as the hurricane gets closer and especially since it shows no signs of turning yet...……... One best be watching until it is well north of you. If I was on the east coast I'd be packed and ready to go...………... The worst case is it going north just offshore driving large tidal surges right at king tides and not weakening is more likely at noon 9-1...…… Maybe coming ashore as low as Miami still…...……...Let's be careful out there...………...Under 80mph ones are fun, over 110mph ones are really dangerous...………..And power goes up the cube of wind speed.

Not saying it isn't dangerous, but the majority of the models are in agreement that Dorian will stay out in the ocean off the east coast as it moves northward. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EDZyP9jVUAIl6Hb?format=png

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